They say "All is fair in love and war", but is that really true for a follower of Jesus? This is an especially serious question for teenagers. Society tells us that what we want, we should fight for. For a teenager in the dating arena, that can be a huge focus of our lives. So what happens when you and a friend like the same guy/girl?
Did you know that the Bible actually talks about this? It's in Philippians 2:3, "Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility, count others more significant than yourselves."First, Paul says "Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit." That one is fairly self-explanatory. Don't do things just for yourself! Then he says, "but in humility, count others more significant than yourselves." Well, what exactly does that look like?
Romans 15:2 says, "Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up." Though we are not to be pleasers of men rather than Christ, we are to please our neighbors for Christ, and especially those who are fellow believers (Galatians 6:10). Jesus says there is no greater love than to lay down your life for a friend (John 15:13). The ultimate love is to give your life for another. So surely, it is greater to give up something you want, that a friend may have it instead!
This adage that "all is fair in love and war" has been around so long that it seems to have been accepted as truth. I think it's interesting that Paul says, "Count others more significant than yourselves." What an incredible command! Just as a rule of our sinful nature, we think we are more important than others, but Paul tells us to stop thinking this way.
So what happens when you and a close friend have the same love interest? Well, I can't tell you exactly what to do because every situation is different, but I can tell you to consider your friend as more significant than you. You see, there comes a point where a brother or a sister is more important than a potential boyfriend/girlfriend. You can choose to talk it out, but if it comes to your friend not wanting to give up, can you consider them more significant and let them win?
Hear this: "And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose" (Romans 8:28). Any command we are given is a call to love God more. When we are called to count others as more significant than ourselves, it is a call to love God more than ourselves, by giving up ourselves and loving those who He loves. So do you not know that everything will work for good, for His purpose if you choose to do what Paul says here?
Having been out of high school for a few years now, this sort of situation seemed far in the past for me. But lately, it has become an issue again, and God has really been pushing me to count a brother in Christ as more significant than myself, and focus on what God is doing—not on what He is giving (or not giving). But I admit that it's hard, for it goes against that sin nature.
Rather than seeing this as an impossible command, I pray that you will be glad in the fact that Jesus, in all humility, counted us more significant than what He deserved, and took the weight of what we deserve. I pray that you will be glad that, by His humility and obedience, we are made able to give up our desires to better serve His purposes. By His grace, when we lose our lives for Him, we find our lives (Luke 9:24)!
Think about your circle of friends. Who needs to be shown that they are more significant than you today?
John Raz is a diabetic who enjoys writing, playing guitar, and photography. He rarely knows what to put in his own bio because he's not good at talking about himself, but he would love to talk to you about Christ!