There he/she is! In a room full of people, the only person you see is this dream of a person. Your heart races, palms sweat, mouth goes dry, and you simultaneously long for and dread an actual encounter. You have a crush. Are such feelings wrong? Is it appropriate to crush on someone?
A crush, or an infatuation, can be intense, but, blessedly, it does not usually last long. We start developing crushes in preschool, and they can continue sporadically throughout adulthood. Most people are subject to them, yet no one can fully explain why we zero in on one particular person while disregarding the rest. Pheromones, physical attractiveness, and the way someone smells, laughs, or smiles can all play roles in creating a crush. The feelings accompanying a crush can be overpowering.
Crushes need to be distinguished from real love. A crush may begin the same way as love, but love moves past physical and emotional attraction to a point of sacrificial service. It was not for a crush that God sent His Son to die; it was because of real love (John 3:16; 10:11; 1 John 4:9). A crush is an emotional response to something we find attractive about another person, while love makes a steadfast commitment to that person’s welfare (1 Corinthians 13:4–8).
We can develop crushes on people we don’t even know, such as celebrities, public figures, or teachers. The internet has provided a new source of crushing as cyber-relationships ignite and our only contact with people is through a screen. The teen years are especially crush-prone. Hormones are running wild, and bodies are in various stages of maturity. We are not always aware of the differences between love and a passionate crush, especially when we’re young, so we are prone to leap headfirst into romances or sexual liaisons that leave lifelong wounds.
Having a crush is not wrong as long as we do not allow ourselves to make sinful choices because of a crush. Crushes are an inevitable part of being human, so we should recognize them for what they are and not base decisions on those feelings. We must guard against allowing innocent crushes to become sexual fantasies. Jesus said, “I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:28). When we fantasize about acting on something God calls sin, we are already sinning in our hearts (Colossians 3:5; 1 Corinthians 6:18; Romans 1:26–27). Keeping a crush under control is important: “A person without self-control is like a city with broken-down walls” (Proverbs 25:28, NLT).
The Bible gives us an example of someone who was so controlled by his crushes that it eventually cost him his life (Judges 14:1–2). Samson was chosen by God to be set apart for ministry (Judges 13:2–5). However, he forfeited much that God wanted to do through him because he allowed his crushes to determine his actions. If we study what he did wrong, we can avoid the same pitfalls. First of all, Samson made it a practice to party with the pagans. He was flirting in places he should never have been. His second mistake was in not recognizing his own weaknesses. He was attracted to seductive, ungodly women, and, instead of guarding himself (Romans 13:14), he indulged that weakness. Third, he did not learn from his mistakes (Judges 16:1–4). He mistook lust-based crushes for God-honoring love over and over again, and it cost him everything (Judges 16:21, 29–30). We can save ourselves much pain if we avoid Samson’s mistakes.
As Christians, we are to do everything for the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31). As we deal with crushes, we should do so to God’s glory. We start by being honest with the Lord about our feelings, as the psalmists were (Psalm 6:6; 38:9). We ask Him to help us keep our thoughts pure and our actions pleasing to Him (Psalm 19:14). We can also pray for that person we are so attracted to. Ask that he or she would seek the Lord and that God would accomplish His purpose in that individual. If the crush is a potential marriage partner, we can boldly ask the Lord for opportunities to get to know him or her better. Of course, we must always offer our petitions in the spirit of Jesus’ words “Yet not my will, but yours be done” (Luke 22:42).
God wants to be involved in every part of our lives, even our crushes. He wants us to be vigilant guards over our hearts so that crushes do not become idols (Proverbs 4:23). If we find ourselves thinking day and night about one person, we may have crossed the line from a normal crush to an unhealthy obsession. Seeking intimate times of fellowship with God can help keep that crush in perspective. As wonderful as a crush may seem, no person can fill the void in our hearts like God can. The exhilaration of a crush is a reminder that our hearts have a great capacity for love, joy, excitement, and hope. All will be fully satisfied one day when we are forever in the Lord’s presence (Psalm 16:11; 23:6; Revelation 21:2).