Ask Your Preacher

Ask Your Preacher

CHILDREN

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Let's Make A Deal

Wednesday, November 08, 2017
My son suffers from OCD, and in trying to deal with it, he tries to make deals with God.  For example, he said he made the deal that if he gave in to the problem, then God can let the devil taint his xBox.  Now, he won't play at all because he gave in and believes God has allowed his xBox to be tainted by the devil.  I've told him God doesn't work that way, but he won’t believe me.  Is there a biblical Scripture I can show him that will prove to him that God doesn't make deals?

Sincerely,
Perturbed Parent

Dear Perturbed Parent,

A little less time on the xBox isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but believing the devil has infected your electronics is probably a problem.  All joking aside, the best verse to cover this issue with your son is Matt 4:5-7.  When the devil tempted Jesus by taking Him to the top of the temple and daring Jesus to throw Himself down and prove that God could take care of Him, Jesus responded by saying, “Do not test the Lord your God”.  God makes the rules, not us (Isa 33:22).  Explain to your son that being faithful means that we trust God’s Bible.  It is God’s will that will be done, not ours (Jas 4:14).  God decides what our punishments will be, not us.

Saying Goodbye

Tuesday, September 19, 2017
My sister recently lost her son (a twenty-five-year-old) to a bad car accident.  He was in the height of his life, recently engaged to be married, and doing well at his job.  Her grief has steadily increased.  She wants answers.  Why would God do this?  Why would He take such a good person?  Is He punishing her for her sins?

I am exhausted trying to find Bible verses or words of comfort for her.  Please help.

Sincerely,
Forlorn Aunt

Dear Forlorn Aunt,

This is a great question… which is why thousands of books have been written on the subject of grief. When Jacob heard of his son’s death and when he contemplated the loss of a second son, he said, “My gray hair will go down to Sheol” (Gen 37:35, Gen 42:38). That emotion is a normal one. When one learns of the death of a spouse or child, their first reaction is so painful and the grief is so deep that they feel they will never have another happy moment on this earth. Jacob’s first reaction was normal in this respect. Jacob later received the good news that his son was alive, so he didn’t have to go to his grave in pain.

But your question is about your sister today. How do we handle grief, so that we will be able to recover and find happiness again? This process of handling grief is called “Healing Grief.” It means we go through the grieving process in the right way, so we can heal. This is where those thousands of books come in, and I suggest your sister read many of them. Also, one of our AYP writers has an entire audio sermon series on grieving that he wrote when his wife died; that series can be found here.  Some of the major things most people need to do are:

  1. Go ahead and cry your eyes out. Don’t be ashamed to express your pain by crying. (Ps 6:6-7)
  2. If you have a friend who will listen, talk, talk, talk. Crying and talking are very therapeutic. Don’t hold it in! Cry and talk. (Eccl 4:10)
  3. Cry out to God in prayer and listen to God as He speaks to you through His Bible, especially the book of Psalms (Phil 4:6; 1 Pet 5:6-7).
  4. This next one sounds funny to someone who has not been through this experience, but those who have will know what I am saying. After a few months, you will realize that you don’t want to let go of your loved one. You don’t want them forgotten. You actually hope they might, in some way, come back. At this stage, you must accept the fact that they are gone. This is not easy, but it is a big step that is necessary to healing. (2 Sam 12:22-23)

When this acceptance actually comes into her life, she will begin the final period called ‘recovery’. It is at this time that hope will come back into her life, and she will find happiness again. She is going through a grieving process God built within us humans who are made in His image… so encourage her to not give up. Even Jesus Himself experienced this emotion (John 11:35).

Of Sound Mind

Wednesday, March 08, 2017
Does a person who is mentally retarded still go to heaven if they do not believe, or are they considered children, and why does mental retardation exist in the first place?  I’m guessing mankind is at fault and responsible for this, and it is a consequence for humans for sin.

Sincerely,
Young At Heart

Dear Young At Heart,

Those with mental handicaps would fall under the same rules as children.  In order to obey the gospel, we must have the maturity to:

  1. Take responsibility for our sins (Acts 3:19).
  2. Hear and understand the Word of God (Rom 10:17).
  3. Be responsible for our own spiritual growth (1 Pet 2:1-2).

Children and those with mental disabilities do not have that ability, and God only holds us accountable for what we are able to do (2 Cor 8:11-12).

All disease and illness is a consequence of sin.  When Adam and Eve sinned, their bodies began to die (Gen 2:17).  When mankind was kicked out of the Garden of Eden (Gen 3:24), diseases of all sorts began to creep in.  Mental diseases are just one consequence of that fateful decision that Adam and Eve made.

A Life Hardly Lived

Monday, February 27, 2017
I have a sensitive question that has a lot of varying answers, but I came across this site and decided to ask yet another religious and spiritual person.  Please try to answer as honestly as you can.

I had a cousin a little while back who committed suicide.  She was young (only 16) and not outwardly depressed or upset.  She left a long note for her mother, apologizing and trying to explain herself.  She was scared of what her future would hold, and her decision came with a lot of conscious struggle.  She left us all behind, confused and worried for her.  What would happen to someone like her in the afterlife? I know that God has the final say, but is suicide a sin?

ADDITIONAL DETAILS:
The girl in question wasn't an overly religious person (didn't attend church regularly), but she did believe in God, Jesus, and the afterlife.  She prayed every morning and often claimed to have a "connection" with God when she needed Him.  Thanks for your time.

Sincerely,
Sad Cousin

Dear Sad Cousin,

Suicide is a painful topic, and we are so sorry for your loss.  There are two things to consider when looking at what God says about a sixteen-year-old committing suicide.

  1. Is suicide a sin?
  2. How accountable does God hold someone of that age for their actions?

Question one is fairly straightforward – suicide is a sin.  Suicide is a form of murder, and murder is wrong (1 Jn 3:15).  What is so scary about suicide is that it is a form of murder that allows no opportunity for repentance (Heb 9:27).  The final judgment belongs to God (Heb 12:23), but it would be a very perilous thing to face God with your own blood on your hands.

Question number two is a lot trickier.  Children are not held accountable for their choices in the same way that adults are.  King David’s son died at infancy, and David knew that his son was in heaven (2 Sam 12:23).  Children are given as examples of godliness (Lk 18:17).  Paul uses the immaturity of children as an example (1 Cor 13:11).  At some point, children transition to being adults, and they become accountable for their own behavior… but that happens at different times for different kids.  Everyone understands that a five-year-old is a child and that a twenty-five-year-old is an adult; it is the ages in between that get fuzzier.  Sixteen is an age that sits squarely in the gray area.  Only God, who knows our hearts (Lk 16:15), could properly judge where your cousin’s maturity level was.  If she was still considered a child in the eyes of God, she will be in heaven – God doesn’t make mistakes; He will properly decide.  May God give you comfort in your time of grief for the loss of your loved one.

Provoked To Wrong

Friday, February 24, 2017
Hi, I lied to my dad a few times about drinking twisted tea, having a facebook (I deleted my facebook), why I came home from school late (because I had a detention, and I told him I was checking my grades), etc. – but I don't want to admit to him that I lied because he's verbally abusive.  Do I have to admit to my dad that I lied to him???  Am I lying to him by not admitting that I lied before?

Sincerely,
Troubled Kid

Dear Troubled Kid,

You lied to your father, and you need to ask for his forgiveness.  Part of repentance is asking forgiveness (Lk 17:4).  It is unfortunate that your relationship with your father is so unhealthy, but regardless of how he acts, you have a responsibility to do what is right (Matt 16:24).  Your conscience is obviously bothered by hiding these lies… it is time to clear that conscience (Acts 24:16).  May God bless you in your courage to put truth first in your life.

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