Ask Your Preacher
Why does it feel as though single parents aren’t accepted in the church? I’m a single parent of two boys, and when I go to church, it seems that people there are distant from us. Nobody, I believe, was asking to be placed in this type of situation.
It is hard to say why anyone feels like they aren’t accepted in their congregation. There are many reasons, and here are just a few:
- It may be because the congregation really is distant and are treating you unkindly. Of course, this is wrong. We are told that we shouldn’t have favoritism within the church (Jas 2:1-9). Christians should always strive to show love and kindness to all of mankind.
- It may be that your situation makes you feel isolated even though people aren’t trying to be distant. We often super-impose our own fears upon others, and our perceptions of reality aren’t always correct… especially when we have struggles that make us feel out of place – such as being a single parent in a congregation with few others facing that same difficulty. Each heart knows its own sorrow, and we can subconsciously isolate ourselves (Pr 14:10).
- It may also be that some people have been unkind or uncharitable to you in the past, and that has left a bad taste in your mouth. Eccl 7:21-22 warns us not to take to heart everything that others say – after all, we all stick our foot in our mouth from time to time. That being said, a poorly chosen word or action can certainly create distance.
These aren’t all the reasons that cause people to feel detached from a congregation – but they are some of the primary ones. We are sorry things have been so difficult for you. Hopefully, tomorrow brings better things.
Why do we, believers, sometimes act like Pharisees?
There are lots of reasons that people can behave Pharisaically. The Pharisees chose their traditions over the Bible (Mk 7:8), and the Pharisees also cared more about appearances than they did about genuinely serving God (Matt 23:25-26). Sadly, there are still people like that in the church today. The key is to not be that way yourself.
Are there any scriptures that instruct us on fellowshipping with other Christians (i.e. where to fellowship, what to do when we fellowship)? I've been meeting with a group of Christians here and there, and it seems all we do is eat, talk about random things, and go home. I have yet to see a Bible opened at one of the fellowships; we don’t even speak about God and His Word. If someone walked in on our fellowship, they would think we're just a bunch of friends sitting around and having a good ol’ time. I want to bring this up before the group. Any suggestions?
A Different Kind Of Hungry
Dear A Different Kind Of Hungry,
The Bible talks a lot about fellowship but not in the way we often use the word today. The word ‘fellowship’ means ‘the share which one has in anything, participation’. In short, the word fellowship doesn’t have anything to do with social gatherings; it is about partnership and sharing in a common goal. The Greek word for fellowship is sometimes translated ‘communion’ (2 Cor 13:14) or ‘contribution’ (Rom 15:26) because when we share in a common work or contribute to a common work, we are in fellowship.
The church must be in fellowship with one another constantly. We must work together for a common purpose at all times. However, that doesn’t have anything to do with whether or not you socialize… in the case of Php 1:3-5, Paul said he had fellowship with the Philippian church because they financially supported him even though he was in a distant land.
Now that we know what fellowship is and isn’t, let’s talk about this group getting together. There isn’t anything wrong with Christians just spending time together for fun and social enjoyment. However, if you are getting together for the purpose of studying and spiritual growth, it sounds like this group isn’t meeting those goals.
What is the role of a brother in Christ with regard to a sister in Christ who is not his wife, daughter, sister, mother, or any other female family member? I'm a sister in Christ. I don't want to be husbanded or fathered. I just want a brother and a friend, not someone who is trying to manage my life like he does a wife or one of his children. Shouldn't there be a difference?
Dear Not Yours,
The Bible teaches that men in the church should treat women in the church like sisters and mothers (depending on their age). Paul clearly says this in 1 Tim 5:2. It isn’t the job of a Christian man to manage the lives of all Christian women – frankly, we’ve got enough work just taking care of ourselves!
We aren’t entirely sure what your complete question is, but it is possible for men and women in the church to have friendships, as long as they are careful to avoid anything inappropriate (1 Thess 5:2). Both genders in the church are to seek healthy relationships with all Christians… whether male, female, young, or old.
The only people within a congregation who would have a responsibility to “manage” you would be the elders, who are given the task of watching over the saints (1 Pet 5:2).
When a person is saved, what causes them not to have compassion in there heart?
When we first become Christians, we are only babies (1 Cor 3:1). It is only after time and practice that we become mature and full-grown adult Christians (Heb 5:14). Becoming a Christian doesn’t fix all over your shortcomings, and consequently, many Christians struggle with being compassionate, showing love, becoming unselfish, and a host of other internal battles. We must be patient with one another as we all grow toward the Lord (2 Pet 1:6).