Ask Your Preacher
Am I bad because I do not like someone?
There are lots of reasons to not like people – some good, some bad. If you don’t like someone because they are wicked or making sinful choices, those are legitimate reasons (1 Cor 15:33). If the reason is based upon jealousy, bitterness, or vengeance… that is another story (Jas 3:14). You have to examine your motives and decide why you feel the way you do.
Regardless of your relationship with the person, you should still treat them with love and respect. The Bible teaches us to love even our enemies (Matt 5:44).
My girlfriend’s mother’s best friend claims she has a gift from God and can see the future. She does not like me and tells me and my girl’s family that I am going to hurt her and that I will lose her because of that... does this sound at all possible? And if so, where in the Bible does it say anything about when you are saved that God will grant you unnatural abilities? Because this is what she claims.
Not A Bad Boyfriend
Dear Not A Bad Boyfriend,
Eccl. 8:7-8 says that mankind doesn’t have the ability to tell the future – it is a mystery to us. There have been times that God gave prophets the ability to speak of the future, but the times of prophecies and visions are over.
Miraculous gifts were given to the first century church because they did not have the complete Bible as we do. Miracles were a confirmation that those preaching were sent by God (Mk 16:20); they were how God bore witness that these men were His servants (Heb 2:2-4). These miracles were necessary at that time, but now that the perfect Word of God has been completed, they are no longer needed (1 Cor 13:8-10). We have all the prophecies of God written down, all the divine knowledge is in God’s Word, and the Bible is translated into every major language on the planet.
Your girlfriend’s mother’s best friend is either consciously or subconsciously deceiving herself and others – she can’t see the future, and she has no supernatural gifts.
I was in supervision. My job was high-pressured, and I was forced to step down. Now, I feel alone, embarrassed, and I truly feel others were undermining me and disrespecting me. How do I get my confidence back and feel better about working there? God had to break me in order to get my attention.
Dear Feeling Demoted,
A righteous man may fall seven times, but he gets back up again (Pr 24:16). We are defined more by how we accept failures than anything else. The greatest athletes are those that can regroup and rally after a bad game or difficult quarter. Humility is one of the most important traits in life (Jas 4:10). The humble improve. Think of this setback as a chance to focus on what really matters, and count your blessings. We count them blessed who endured hardship when we read about them in the Bible (Jas 5:11). Learn from your mistakes, forgive those who have harmed you, and be a shining light for Christ. As a Christian, your worth is so much more than your job. Christians have their hope of heaven as an anchor for their souls (Heb 6:19).
Is using deadly force ever justifiable in defense of self or family? If there were ever a situation where there was complete societal breakdown (no government or police), food and water became scarce, and armed looters and gangs searching for food became a real threat to your family, would you be morally responsible to defend your family by any means necessary? Would God expect you to turn the other cheek or fight for survival?
Dear Getting Prepared,
When the Bible commands us to not kill, the word used for ‘kill’ is the word that we would use for ‘murder. 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). These are all examples of the difference between murder and self-defense (or war-time killing).
In the Old Testament, God made specific rules that allowed an individual to kill if they were defending their home or family (Ex 22:2). In Lk 22:35-39, Jesus tells His disciples that persecution will begin after He leaves and that they ought to “buy a sword” – this is certainly an endorsement of self-defense. All of these point to the fact that God distinguishes between defensive force and vigilante murder.
How do you forgive someone if they have not asked for forgiveness and/or if they act as though they are not in error? I've heard some say you should simply be ready to forgive. I know I should not have ill will or resentful feelings, but how can I forgive if forgiveness has not been requested? We are only forgiven by God when we request it....
Dear Apology Acceptor,
Depending on the situation, you may or may not forgive the person (more on this further down), but no matter what: you can’t, absolutely CAN’T, treat the person poorly or allow bitterness to engulf you. Whether you forgive someone or not, we are all to love even our enemies (Lk 6:27) and treat them with kindness and love. Furthermore, bitterness of heart is a disease that is like drinking poison and expecting someone else to suffer (Heb 12:15).
With that said, here are some things to consider with forgiveness. You have to forgive all christians (Matt 18:35). If they are good enough for God to forgive, they are good enough for you to forgive. If the person is not a christian, you may find that they are purposefully continuing to harm you and abuse you. If this is the case, it is fair to say that you do not need to forgive them, but you do still need to love them. God is willing to forgive when we repent, but ready to forgive is different than actually forgiving (Ps 86:5). Another factor to consider is that Jesus asked God to forgive people who were crucifying Him. “Forgive them for they know not what they do”(Lk 23:34) is a very powerful statement. Jesus made it clear that oftentimes people do the wrong thing out of ignorance. If they had only known, they would have acted differently. It is always a good idea to give people the benefit of the doubt. If in doubt, forgiveness is always a better option.