Ask Your Preacher
I was married for twenty years, and we separated due to another female in church; I prayed that our marriage would not end and we would reconcile. But that didn't happen; we were divorced, and he remarried after two weeks. Can you tell me why my prayers were not answered? And why they committed adultery, lied, and even stole from the church but still think that what they did was not wrong? Thank you.
God desires for all of us to purify our hearts and minds and turn from sin, but He also gives us the freedom to choose for ourselves. God has multiple principles that He must keep in balance at all times. God hears prayers, but He also allows people to decide for themselves whether or not to be righteous or wicked. If God simply forced people to become better people, that would remove our freedom of choice. After all, He tells us that we reap what we sow in this life (Gal 6:7).
We cannot imagine the amount of pain you have been through. It isn’t that God doesn’t hear prayers; it is that your husband chose to do something sinful. God doesn’t like it (Mal 2:16), but as we said, God still respects our freewill. As for how these two people can believe that what they did was okay… sadly, when we choose to do wicked things, it can sear our conscience (1 Tim 4:2), and people rationalize all sorts of sinful behavior because they “feel” it is right. Every man believes he is right in his own eyes, but in the end, the Lord makes a just judgment (Pr 21:2).
Jesus says in Matt 23:9 not to call anyone “father”. A buddy tells me that since Catholics call their priests “father”, they’re disregarding this verse (not that I care about this because, for me, they can call their clergy any name they want). But I hate to be the one to ask this because this may seem idiotic, but does this also mean that we cannot call our dads “father”?
Honoring My Father
Dear Honoring My Father,
Calling a priest ‘father’ is wrong because it is referring to ‘father’ in a spiritual sense. That is what Christ is condemning in Matt 23:8-10. Christ is rebuking people who elevate themselves above others within the church. Catholic priests place themselves in a position of spiritual superiority and authority above others. That is wrong and exactly what Christ told His disciples never to do.
On the other hand, the term ‘father’ is perfectly fine when used to refer to a physical parent. The Bible itself uses the word ‘father’ almost 1,000 times, and the vast majority of those times refer to fleshly parents. Gen 2:24, Gen 9:22, Lev 20:9, Pr 17:25, Mk 10:29, Lk 11:11 are just a few examples. Our fathers are a blessing from God given to us for a time to guide and discipline us (Heb 12:9-10). They are worthy of honor and the title ‘father’ (Eph 6:2).
My boyfriend and I have been living together for about four years. We have a one-year-old son and are both very active in his daily life. To us, we have a perfect family, although we are not technically married. We love each other very much and do plan to spend the rest of our lives together and have made that commitment to one another. We would, however, like to wait until we are more financially stable to have a wedding ceremony as that can be quite expensive. We recently rededicated our lives to Christ and are wondering if we are living in sin. I believe that we are, but I am not sure what we should do about it. Does God expect us to no longer live together, to rip our family apart and destroy our son’s happiness? My boyfriend will not get married now as he does not believe we are living in sin as long as we are 100% committed to one another and have made a vow to one another and God that we plan to spend our lives only with one another. I really want to live my life for God and I do in all ways but this. I cannot imagine allowing this to destroy my family. Please offer some advice.
Mixed Emotions Mom
Dear Mixed Emotions Mom,
There is nothing more important to God than you, your boyfriend, and your child. God loves us so much that He sent His only begotten Son to die for us (Jhn 3:16). As a parent, can you imagine how deep His love for us must be to make such a sacrifice?
God wants what is best for us. The best thing is for you and your boyfriend to get married. Living together is wrong, and no matter how committed you are, it isn’t the same as being married. In Jhn 4:18, Jesus told a woman that she was not married even though she was living with a man. No matter how your boyfriend feels about you, he isn’t your husband. Show him Jhn 4:18, and then ask him (since you said you are both committed to serving Christ) what he wants to do about it.
As far as the costs involved with getting married, you don’t have to have a big wedding – a quick trip to the courthouse is perfectly fine. Save up and have a big party later. A big, extravagant ceremony is just a luxury, but being married is an issue of morality.
God doesn’t want to rip families apart; He wants us to be saved and to build our lives upon a proper foundation – Jesus Christ and His Word (1 Cor 3:11). It may seem like your life is working well now, but we can guarantee you that not listening to the Bible always makes things worse. There are some things that your child doesn’t fully understand but that you, as the parent, realize are dangerous or important. God is the same way. You don’t see why it is so important to be married, but God says it is. Will you trust Him, or will you trust yourself (Rom 10:17)? The answer to that question will decide your future and set the tone for your life and for your son’s life (Pr 22:6).
How do you put all your trust in God?
Another way of saying ‘trust’ is ‘faith’. If you put all your trust in God, you are putting all your faith in God. Rom 10:17 says that faith comes from hearing God’s Word, and Jas 2:18 says our level of faith is seen in our actions. So, we place our trust in God by studying His Word and then actively living lives of conviction based upon what the Bible says.
I've been a christian my entire life, but I'm having some trouble finding some answers to questions I have. One of my biggest questions is: if God created everything and knows everything, why would He create sin, knowing that's a choice that mankind will choose? And why can't He just make sin go away? I know that not everyone can go to heaven because it's a perfect place, and sin cannot be there, but why wouldn't God just completely get rid of sin, so all these people He's created and loves can be with Him in heaven?
Hope For All
Dear Hope For All,
God didn’t create sin; the devil did. The Bible says that Satan is the father of lies (Jhn 8:44). Sin only exists when we turn our back on God. Sin is a lot like darkness. Darkness isn’t really a thing – it is the absence of light. God is the father of lights and every good thing (Jas 1:17). When we stop following the Lord, we no longer walk in the light. Sin is the absence of godly living.
God can do whatever He wants, but God has chosen to give us the freedom to choose sin or choose life (Deut 30:19). God doesn’t desire any of the wicked to perish (Ezek 18:23). His desire is for all mankind to choose Him, but God also honors our freewill by giving each of us an entire lifetime to choose for ourselves whether we want to spend eternity with Him or away from Him. If God simply removed sin, He would also be removing our freewill. God respects the freedom He gave us.