Ask Your Preacher
My boyfriend calls me ‘Satan’ sometimes when he is angry with me. He also calls his mom ‘Lucifer’ because she has a mental condition and sometimes curses for no reason. So he said she is Lucifer for acting that way. I'm called Satan because I may say something that does not appeal to him, but I'm not cursing or name-calling. We are both christians so… I'm confused that he feels it is acceptable in the eyes of God that it is okay to freely use the word Satan towards my character. In the Bible, where can I find it that we should refrain from name-calling?
Thank you for your time.
Dear Disgruntled Girlfriend,
We feel pretty comfortable in saying that your boyfriend needs an attitude check – that is not the way to talk to people. God tells us to make sure our speech is “seasoned with grace” (Col 4:6). We are told to avoid all corrupt speech and to only say things that will edify the hearers (Eph 4:29). The apostle Peter commanded us to “refrain our tongues from evil” and “speak without guile” (1 Pet 3:10). Name-calling (especially referring to someone as the most evil being in existence!) is totally inappropriate. There is only one reference in the Bible to calling someone Satan, and that is Mk 8:33 when Jesus rebuked Peter by saying, “Get behind Me, Satan”. This was because Peter was commanding Jesus to not sacrifice Himself on the cross – a direct contradiction to God’s will (Mk 8:31-32). If the Son of God only used the term in the most extreme circumstance… we should be vary wary of ever using that sort of strong language.
I saw your post about “Temporary Leave”. About the guy in the Army, I thought it was a sin for someone to join the Army; they kill people for no reason; the Bible says, “Thou shall not kill.”
There is nothing wrong with being a soldier; some of the most faithful men in the Bible were soldiers and had to kill people in the defense of their country. David was a man after God’s own heart (1 Sam 13:14), and yet, David killed many people as a soldier. Jesus marveled at the faith of a centurion soldier (Matt 8:8-10). The first Gentile convert was Cornelius, a well-known Roman soldier (Acts 10:22). When a group of soldiers asked John the Baptist what they needed to do to live a faithful life, he told them to be honest and faithful… but he never told them to stop serving in the military (Lk 3:14).
Lord willing, most christian soldiers will never have to kill anyone, but if they did, it won’t be murder (read “Kill Or Be Killed” for more on that topic). Being a soldier is an honorable profession.
My fiancé just joined the army and is going to basic training. He is a member of the church of Christ, but there is only Catholic and Baptist services offered on Sundays, so he can't go to church during training. Is this a sin? He will miss about ten weeks of worship services.
Dear Concerned Fiancé,
His situation is difficult, but not unique. There have been many soldiers that have served Christ and country. Cornelius the centurion was the first Gentile convert (Acts 10:1), soldiers asked John the Baptist how to be faithful (Lk 3:14), and another centurion humbly sought Christ’s help (Matt 8:9). So take courage, you and your fiancé are not alone in your dilemma.
We consider his situation to be a 2 Cor 8:11 case. He is accountable for what he is able to do. If he is out in the middle of the deserts of Iraq, he is physically unable to make it to worship services. Therefore, he is not condemned for that which he cannot do. An analogous situation would be a mute Christian; he is commanded to confess Christ with his lips (Rom 10:9), but nobody expects a mute man to do this because he physically unable. If your fiancé is able to make it to services – DO IT. If he can’t attend, he should do what he can – pray (1 Thess 5:17) and study (2 Tim 2:15) on his own. We recommend that he ask some christians that are veterans of the military for tips and advice on what they did to make it through those times where they were unable to make it to services.
Is lying for your own safety still a sin?
On The Defense
Dear On The Defense,
God hates lying (Pr 6:16-17), but you don’t have to tell everyone everything about your life. Even Jesus ignored His brothers’ request to know His comings and goings on occasion (Jhn 7:8-10). Jesus never lied (Tit 1:2, Heb 4:15), but He did deflect their question because what He did (or didn’t do) wasn’t any of their business. In a life-or-death situation, you have every right to deflect someone from the truth in order to preserve life.
It is worth noting that good christians are of mixed opinions on this issue. Some believe it would be perfectly appropriate to deceive or deflect because you would be protecting human life – preserving human life is of great importance (the Egyptian midwives of Ex 1:15-22 are often cited as an example of this) Other christians believe that it would be better to die and go face God. Both sides have good arguments, and in such extreme circumstances, each person would need to choose what they believed was the most faithful and godly option.
The question I have: I believe six years ago, the Lord placed in my heart the desire to become a nurse, and ever since I received that, I've been pursuing this, taking classes and asking questions. This quarter, I'm taking a biology class, but for some reason, I'm starting to wonder if this is what God wants me to do. The reason why I'm asking myself and asking God this is because this quarter, I find myself struggling to sit down and study and do the homework. I want to do well in this class; I want to understand what I'm studying; I want to be that nurse for God that knows what she is doing.
What I want to know is why it is a struggle for me now. Is it because I'm out of God’s will? (I hope not.) Or is it something I'm not seeing?
Nursing A Career
Dear Nursing A Career,
God doesn't miraculously imbue us with what profession we should take and the power to sail through classes. The fact that you are having to work hard for your degree isn't a sign from God one way or the other. Hard work is a blessing, and hard workers are pleasing to God. Ecclesiastes says that we have the freedom to pursue whatever things we want in this life – as long as we remember that God will judge us in the end for the life we lived (Eccl 11:9). Being a nurse is a noble and kind profession, and there is nothing wrong with pursuing it, but don't think that God directly spoke to you that you need to be a nurse. God doesn't work that way. God speaks to us through His Son's Word, the Bible (Heb 1:1-2). We are faithful when we listen to that Word and obey it (Rom 10:17). Nursing school is a difficult challenge for even the most agile minds – you aren't struggling because you've done something wrong.