Ask Your Preacher
My boyfriend of thirteen years told me he can no longer have a relationship with me because I don’t attend church. He said I need to follow his path.
We would have to side with your ex-boyfriend on this… but give us a second to explain why. The end goal to your relationship is marriage, and ‘inter-faith’ marriages have disastrous results, an awful track record, and God warns against them. No matter how much you love each other, there are only four possible outcomes to a marriage between to people that don’t have the same spiritual goals, and only one of them is good:
- You eventually convert, obey the gospel, become a christian, and are saved (this would be a really GOOD outcome).
- He eventually forsakes the Lord, and you are both lost (BAD).
- You both make compromises in your beliefs, and neither of you is fully committed to anything (BAD).
- You both eventually renounce both of your belief systems, and are both lost (BAD).
The only positive outcome is the first one, and that isn’t any more likely to happen after you are married than before. From your boyfriend’s perspective, if you aren’t with him on this journey to serve Christ – neither of you is going to be happy, with potentially eternally disastrous consequences.
God warns against being ‘unequally yoked’ to someone with different values than you (2 Cor 6:14-16). Once you get married, you are ‘yoked’ to that person with a lifetime agreement. A godly marriage is designed around unity (Gen 2:24). If you aren’t unified on your core belief system, then everything else will be affected. Where will your children go to church? How much money will you contribute to church? What happens when you disagree on moral decisions – what is the standard you will use to come to an answer? These are just a few of the thousands of day-to-day problems you will run into. God tells us that a christian should marry someone ‘in the Lord’ (1 Cor 7:39). If you are serious about this guy, you need to ask yourself if it is worth looking into Christianity to see if there is a reason that this wonderful man finds it so important. Either way, you are both better off knowing where you stand before entering into a heartbreaking marriage.
There's a gal at work who is praying for Satan's salvation. I told her that this is a lost cause; however, I could not provide biblical reference to his eternal fallen nature. Will you please provide me with a biblical reference to study and pray over to help her in this area? Thanks and God Bless!
Rootin’ For The Good Guys
Dear Rootin’ For The Good Guys,
The Bible makes it clear that the devil’s fate is already sealed. Matt 25:41 says that the eternal fires of hell are prepared for the devil and his angels… which humans join them is still up for grabs (Matt 7:13-14). Rev 20:10 says the same thing. Satan has already chosen his path, and he either has no opportunity or no desire to change course.
When family members have passed, can they hear us or see us from heaven? Do they remember us?
Dear Still Here,
Within Hades, there are two areas where people wait for the final judgment. All of the faithful who die wait in the good part of Hades called ‘Paradise’ (2 Cor 12:4, Lk 23:43). All of the wicked who die wait in a part of Hades known only as ‘torments’ (Lk 16:23). We cannot say with entire certainty whether people can look down on the affairs of Earth while in Hades, but the story of the rich man and Lazarus implies that they can’t. When the rich man died, he was in the ‘torments’ of Hades. He then began to inquire about his brothers in a way that leads us to believe he couldn’t see what was going on in their lives (Lk 16:27-31). However, the rich man remembered remembered his brothers, even though he couldn’t see what they were doing.
Do you think it's wrong for a christian to celebrate the death of Osama bin Laden? I was ecstatic and thankful to God when I heard the news, but then someone showed me Prov 24:17.
There is a balance in the heart of a christian between rejoicing that evil has been vanquished and mourning over the death of a human being. There are plenty of examples of God’s people rejoicing in national victories. There is an entire song that was written when the Israelites celebrated the destruction and drowning of the Egyptian army in the Red Sea (Ex 15:1-21). There is always joy when the wicked are defeated (Pr 11:10). It is appropriate to be happy when evil is destroyed because it means righteousness is prevailing (Pr 28:28).
However, this also must be tempered with the fact that a human that was made in the image of God (Gen 1:27) perished. God says that it pains Him when the wicked perish (Ezek 18:23); we should also have that pain. There is a bittersweet emotion within the hearts of God’s people when an evil person dies. We rejoice that righteousness has prevailed, but we sorrow that a soul stained with sin has gone to face its Maker.
How do I console my daughter who just revealed to me that a trusted grandpa figure exposed himself to her multiple times when she was younger? This man knows the Bible and is involved in children’s ministry at a Christian church (not church of Christ).
Dear Horrified Mother,
Oh, what dark and troublesome times we live in that such things would happen to children! We can’t give you the exact words to say, nor can we give you a crash course in counseling via the internet. What we can do is point out a few verses that deal with tragedy and may be useful when talking with your daughter.
- Listen. Many times the greatest tool you have to help someone who is suffering is simply to use your ears. You can’t remove the hurt they are feeling; each heart knows its own sorrows (Pr 14:10), but you can do a great deal of good by being “swift to hear” (Jas 1:19).
- Rom 8:28 is a great comfort to many people because it gives them hope. God is able to turn tragedy into victory when we trust Him and live our lives His way. All things are possible through God (Php 4:13).
- Some of the greatest people of the Bible have dealt with great sorrow, tragedy, and depression – read our post “I’ve Got The Joy, Joy, Joy” for examples.
- You may recommend reading the Psalms to her, if she asks for advice. The Psalms can give great comfort to people when human words aren’t enough.
- Stand by her if she chooses to expose this man and his sin. He is endangering others, and if she has the strength, justice should be upheld. Darkness should be exposed by the light (Eph 5:11).
We know that these are a paltry help for such a great pain, but many times words are the least effective at times like this. As we said, many times the greatest tool is a loving and listening ear.