Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?2 Corinthians 6:14 NIV
A yoke is a wooden frame that allows animals to most effective pull a load. Oxen are the most common animal that uses a yoke. And frequently they are yoked in pairs. But not just any two oxen can be yoked together. If the animals are not well trained and compatible with each other you might say that they are unequally yoked. And their union together will be less than productive.
And this is what Paul is alluding to here. He is not advocating that believers should not associate with unbelievers. It is important that we do so in order to be the salt and light of the world. Instead, he is talking about close relationships such as marriage, business partnerships, and best friends. These ‘mixed’ relationships may start well. And they might be able to function over the long term. But the differences in values will likely cause problems. The believer should be seeking to honor God in all they do. But that is not a concern to the unbeliever who will have different priorities. Inevitably, the believer will be tempted to compromise in order to maintain the relationship. How much better to be in relationships where both partners have the same values and goals. And where they can work toward them together.
Avoiding Unequally Yoked Partnerships
Paul clearly directs believers who find themselves married to unbelievers to maintain the relationship (1 Cor. 7:12-16). But what about other ‘unequally yoked’ partnerships? Partnerships that are causing us to consider compromise? We should give thought to either ending the relationship or at least reducing the involvement. And be careful about entering into partnerships with unbelievers. It is better to miss out on an opportunity than to compromise your values or integrity.