Ask Your Preacher

Ask Your Preacher

CHILDREN

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Unequal Suffering

Thursday, July 19, 2018
Since all sickness is a consequence of sin, why are some innocent children dealt a greater portion of this consequence than others?  Why might one child be born healthy and another not?  Is this random chance, or are some favored divinely?

Sincerely,
Sickened

Dear Sickened,

Sickness is a consequence of Adam and Eve’s sin in the Garden of Eden.  One of the curses of their sin was that we all must face our own mortality – life is finite.  Sickness, disease, and pain are a part of the human existence.  Sadly, this is true even for children.  Though, as you mentioned, sickness isn’t doled out equally.  Some people suffer greatly, and others face relatively few health problems.  There are several reasons that someone might have a greater portion of sickness.

  1. We reap what we sow (Gal 6:7-8).  The choices we make have consequences in this life – and in the next.  What you do affects you and those around you that you come in contact with.  When you behave godly, certain things happen; when you behave sinfully, other things happen.  That is a universal principle of life.  If a woman drinks while she is pregnant or a child is neglected and malnourished because of ungodly parents – they will suffer the consequences of the choices their parents make.  Some children face health issues that were totally avoidable if the parents had simply lived moral lives.
  2. Sometimes bad things simply happen because they happen.  Job suffered greatly, and his children died, but it wasn’t his (or their) fault.  Job hadn’t done anything wrong, nor had his kids.  It all happened because Satan wanted to do evil (Job 1:6).  As long as we live in this world of sin, there will be troubles.  Sometimes, there isn’t anyone at fault… just time and chance wreaking havoc in a sinful world (Eccl 9:11).
  3. Sometimes people suffer so that God can be glorified.  Jesus’ disciples asked Him why a certain man had been born blind, and Jesus answered, “So that God’s works might be revealed in him.” (Jhn 9:1-3)  This man’s ailment provided an opportunity for God to show His glory.  There are times that we suffer, so God can teach us and teach others through our pain (Eccl 7:2-3).

 

The Santa Clause

Thursday, May 31, 2018
Is it wrong for Christian parents to lie to their children about Santa Claus and the Easter bunny, etc.?

Sincerely,
The Truth Hurts

Dear The Truth Hurts,

It is always wrong to lie; the question is whether telling your kids about Santa Claus is lying or not.  Many christians have many different views on this.  Some christians tell their children that Santa is imaginary because they feel that is honest.  Other christians allow their children to believe in Santa and simply don’t dissuade them from the notion until they ask point-blank.  No matter what, christians must in good conscience do what they believe is honest.  Lying is always wrong (Rev 21:8).  The debate isn’t over whether or not lying is a sin; the debate is over whether or not allowing your children to believe in something imaginary counts as being deceptive.  Each must do what they believe is faithful and right… it would not be good to be too dogmatic on this point.

Eternal Identity

Tuesday, May 01, 2018
I am a mother of two, and we don't attend church.  I tell them as much as I know about God and Jesus and the Bible.  I am scared, though, every time I start to think about the end of days… not because I am not saved but because I heard that when the rapture comes, in heaven you will not know anyone.  I want to know my kids.  I want to watch them grow up and have babies of their own.  I think I may be misunderstanding something.  Please help me understand what is going to happen and if we are all going to be together and know each other.  Please, I get so sad about all of it.

Sincerely,
Maternal Instinct

Dear Maternal Instinct,

The Rapture isn’t a biblical teaching, and it won’t actually happen (read our article “Up In The Air” for a detailed explanation of what the Bible teaches about the Rapture).  However, you are still left with your concern about what heaven will be like (heaven is still very real! – 1 Pet 1:3-4).  In heaven, we have every reason to believe we will know each other.  In fact, if the transfiguration is any indication, we will know everyone in heaven, not just those we have known in this life.  When Jesus was transfigured on the Mount of Olives, both Moses and Elijah appeared and talked to Christ (Lk 9:30).  The remarkable thing is that Peter recognized both of those men even though they had been dead for many centuries (Lk 9:32-33).

Now, if we may, we’d like to address your statement that you don’t go to church.  It is a sin to not attend church; the Bible says so (Heb 10:24-25).  God uses the church to strengthen each of us individually, and He expects all of us to provide our effort to help strengthen others in His church (Eph 4:16).  The church is the pillar and support of the truth (1 Tim 3:15).  Every faithful christian of the Bible was commanded to be a member of a congregation because God knew that we shouldn’t stand alone.  It is a wonderful thing that you are teaching your children about Jesus and training them up to love Him (Pr 22:6).  We would be happy to help you move forward in your service to Christ by putting you in contact with a faithful congregation in your area.  E-mail us at askyourpreacher@mvchurchofchrist.org, and let us help you fill in that piece in the puzzle of your spiritual life.

 

Young Romance

Monday, January 22, 2018
Our daughter, who is seventeen and living at home, has a boyfriend who is nineteen.  He wants to move out on his own and experience something new.  What would be your advice/approach when dealing with them spending time together alone at his new place, going over to visit, watch movies, etc.  Although they have given us no reason to not trust them, I am having problems giving permission to this "alone” time.

Sincerely,
Concerned Parent

Dear Concerned Parent,

Different parents will give different advice in these circumstances, but you aren’t crazy for having concerns.  The important thing is to be able to explain things to your daughter and her boyfriend in biblical terms.  Whatever your decision is, if you can give Scripture for your feelings, it will take the trust issues out of the picture.  As you said, it isn’t about these two trustworthy young people; it is about the natural temptations and passions of youth.  So here are some verses that can be used in your discussions:

  1. God says that it is natural and normal for young people to be attracted to one another (1 Cor 7:9).  This is a natural part of the romance process, but it is also important for them to not put themselves in a position where this attraction can lead to regrettable decisions in the heat of the moment.
  2. The Song of Solomon is a poetic book of the Bible devoted to romantic love.  The chorus of that song says, “don’t awaken or stir up love until he pleases” (Songs 3:5).  God’s warning to those in the courtship process is to not force things and not to go too fast.  The goal is to slow down and get to know the person… the risk of spending copious amounts of time alone is that the relationship begins to speed up in all the wrong ways.
  3. A reputation is a difficult thing to build but an easy thing to destroy.  Your daughter and her boyfriend currently have good reputations, which are more valuable than riches (Pr 22:1).  Part of your job as parents is to help protect their good name.  When a young woman spends a lot of time at a single man’s apartment… it looks a certain way.  This is worth explaining to them.

You will need to decide what conversation to have with your daughter and her boyfriend when and if he gets an apartment, but those are some Bible verses to help provide context to the ground rules you will set.

No Little Loss

Wednesday, January 17, 2018
What happens to a child that dies shortly after birth?  And what comforting words can I tell a mother and father whose child died after being born?

Sincerely,
Empathetic Friend

Dear Empathetic Friend,

There are no words that can remove the pain that a parent feels when they lose a child – their grieving hearts know a pain that is all their own (Pr 14:10).  There is a grieving process that they must go through (read “Great Grief” for details on what the Bible says on grieving).

However, you can know beyond a shadow of a doubt that the baby is in Paradise with God.  King David settled that question when his son died.  David was in great distress and sorrow because his child was sick and dying (2 Sam 12:16-17).  Yet, when the baby died, David stopped his distress and fasting (2 Sam 12:19-20).  When David’s astonished servants asked him why he was better considering the child just passed away, David simply said, “I shall go to him, but he will not return to me.” (2 Sam 12:22-23)  David was keenly aware that all children go to heaven.  You can confidently tell any grieving parent that their baby is in the arms of a loving Father.

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