Ask Your Preacher
Hi; I was reading about what some of the earliest Christians believed, and apparently, in one of their earliest rule books called the Didache, it says that they had to publicly confess all their sins in church to everyone else. Is this something we still have to do today? I always thought we could just confess to God if it was something private, and I don't want to have to go in front of my church and tell them everything I've ever done.
Dear Privacy Please,
We must follow the Bible, and the Didache isn’t the Bible. The Didache is part of what is often referred to as ‘second-generation Christian writings’. Even though it is a historically significant document, it isn’t part of the Bible, it isn’t inspired by God, and we don’t use it to decide what is right and wrong. The Bible never says that we have to confess our sins in front of the congregation. It does tell us to confess our sins to God (1 Jn 1:9), but it doesn’t require that we do it publicly or that we do it in every circumstance. Here are a few circumstances when the Bible says confessing your sins to others should be done:
- If you have sinned against them, you must admit it and ask for forgiveness (Lk 17:3-4).
- If you believe the knowledge of your previous sin will help them (1 Tim 1:15-16).
- If you are struggling with a sin and need help (Jas 5:16, Eccl 4:9).
- If it would be deceptive to not reveal the sin (1 Jhn 1:8).
But don’t fret about baring all before everyone else; the Didache isn’t the guidebook – the Bible is.
I'm in the process of overcoming a sexual sin. The problem is that I can't get rid of these sinful thoughts and desires. I honestly have no clue of what to do. I pray, I read, and I study, but the desires and thoughts remain to the point where I think my head’s going to explode. What should I do?
Overcoming addiction is a difficult process because the struggle often gets worse as soon as we try to fight it, and we feel so weak at times, and the battle so insurmountable. How you are feeling right now is very normal and a sign that you are truly fighting this sin. Here are some things to consider that might help:
- Are you trying to change all on your own? God says two are stronger than one (Eccl 4:9-10). In the case of sin like pornography, many people try and struggle through it alone without seeking help because of the shame involved in it becoming known. This rarely, if ever, works. Telling someone, even just one trusted friend, and using things like Covenant Eyes accountability software can make all the difference in such circumstances.
- Are you putting yourself in compromising situations? Sexual addictions require isolation and there are typically habits and routines involved that lead up to consummation of the sin. You may need to look to change habits, routines, and make sure you aren’t isolating yourself from real life. Remember, Christ said it would be better to remove even your own hand if it would free you from a sin (Matt 5:30).
Removing sin from our lives is a constant struggle. God is ready to forgive you ‘seventy times seven’ as you fight to defeat this sin, but you must look yourself in the mirror and make sure you are taking the steps necessary to change your life.
If I sin does God still love me?
I Made A Mistake
Dear I Made A Mistake,
The Lord loves people but hates sin. God tells us it is appropriate to be happy when evil is destroyed because it means righteousness is prevailing (Pr 28:28), but God also says that it pains Him when the wicked perish (Ezek 18:23). God loves us so much that He sent His own Son to die for our sins (Jhn 3:16), but He hates sin so much that if we don’t take advantage of the forgiveness that is in Christ, God will separate Himself from us (Lk 13:27). When we sin, God wants us to repent of that sin and come to Christ that we might be saved. Read “Five Steps To Salvation” for what it takes to become a Christian and have your sins removed.
I have reason to believe that I may be possessed because I get upset/angry at the most unusual times, and even today on Christmas, I got mad at least once. Is there anything I can do at home (I have NO means of transportation as I am a fourteen-year-old male) to help put the demons to rest?
You aren’t possessed by demons; you are enslaved to anger – there is a difference. Demon possession ended not long after the days of Christ. Jesus made it clear that one of His jobs was to bind the devil and take His strength away by casting out his demons (Matt 12:28-29). When Jesus’ disciples had come back from their evangelism trips and related to Him that they had cast out many demons, Jesus told them that they were defeating Satan by getting rid of Satan’s demonic minions (Lk 10:17-18). When Jesus and His disciples cast out demons, they did it permanently (Lk 8:30-33) and bound Satan by their acts. We no longer have to deal with such overt attacks by the devil because he has been bound by Christ’s sacrifice (Rev. 20:2).
The way to deal with anger is to choose self-control, which can be very difficult, especially in our teenage years. Jas 1:19 says that one of the best cures for anger is to slow down and listen first. If we are swift to hear and slow to speak, anger tends to subside because of understanding. God gave us each two ears and only one mouth for a reason. Focus on listening to others and trying to understand their perspectives before allowing anger to control you.
What is the difference between good pride and bad pride? Or is there even such thing as good pride?
The type of pride we are warned against is arrogance. God loves a humble man, and He finds no pleasure in those that think too highly of themselves (Jas 4:6). Whenever your Bible talks about pride, this is the type of pride that is being discussed. The proud man that thinks he is something when he isn’t is trouble waiting to happen (1 Cor 10:12).
On the other hand, in the English language, we talk about taking pride in your work or being proud of your accomplishments. Most often when people say things like that, they mean they take seriously their responsibilities or are rejoicing over a success… this isn’t wrong at all. The Bible tells us that whatever we do, we should do with all our might (Eccl 9:10). We are told to rejoice in the work of our hands and the blessings that come along with hard work (Eccl 5:18). Taking joy in your work and in your accomplishments is fine… but don’t get a big head and turn to conceit and arrogance.