Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the Southern United States
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I would like your advice on the following: I met a girl over the internet. We both are from the same church and are active in the church. We started to talk on the phone and got very close, but we never talked face to face. Before making any decision to talk to her I prayed about my feelings toward her. Then I told her that I loved her. Now Abouna and our parents found out and they expect us to forget about what had happened and about each other. I am just very confused right now and I don't know what to do. I can't stop talking to her.

Your words and actions reveal that you are young. What you refer to as "love" is deception from the devil. Do not deceive yourself thinking that because your feelings are directed towards someone from church or even that you talk about church matters or are involved in church gatherings that you are on the safe side. Because you prayed, the devil inflamed your heart all the more to pursue your desires. This cannot be "love". Rather, God heard your prayers, and exposed the devil's plot to your priest and your parents. This may have appeared to you to be in the form of reprimand or embarrassment. However, you must begin to understand that this was done out of love for you to keep you away from blunder.

In Ephesians 5:25, we are taught "husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her..." This love is likened to God's love to His church, sanctifying her, cleansing her, and presenting her (the church, us) "... not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish." What claim do you have on this girl? This therefore cannot be love. Look upon this girl and all the girls in church as sisters. At the right time, God will direct you to the right person to take as a spouse; and your parents and priest will be the first to congratulate and embrace you. "Let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth" (1 John 3:18).
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