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Ask Your Preacher

FAMILY

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Honor vs. Obey

Sunday, October 07, 2012
I'm twenty-seven-years-old, and I want to know what my responsibilities are to 'honor' and 'respect' my christian parents.  I'm a christian, too, but my parents still control nearly every aspect of my life - pulling out Bible verses for everything they think I'm doing wrong.  How do I live my own life and work on my relationship with God without feeling so pressured and controlled by my parents?  Or is my christian duty to always obey my parents as long as their teachings are 'Biblical'?

 

Sincerely,
Honor Bound

Dear Honor Bound,

You must always do what the Bible says – if you are living a way that is unscriptural and your parents are pointing that out, you should change.  However, it sounds like you are talking more about issues of opinion that you and your parents are disagreeing over.  This becomes a trickier issue.  The Bible does not require grown children to obey their parents, but it does require them to honor their parents (Lk 18:19-20)… there is a difference.  ‘Honor’ means ‘to place in a position of esteem’ or ‘to highly value’.  Grown children can highly value their parents without obeying everything they say.  Adult children honor their parents by valuing their advice (Job 12:12), respecting their age (1 Tim 5:1), caring for their parents in their old age (Mk 7:10-12), etc.

There is great debate over exactly what age parents begin to relinquish their authority over their children.  Some say eighteen; others say at marriage; still others say when you leave the house; suffice it to say, twenty-seven would typically be deemed an appropriate age to transition from childhood to adulthood.

A Sick Child

Tuesday, October 02, 2012
How do we appropriately ask for God to intervene in the life of a sick child?  Should we ask for the child's sake, for His glory, or on the family's behalf?

Sincerely,
Worried Sick

Dear Worried Sick,

All three reasons are wonderful.  James gives an example of praying for the sick, purely because they are sick and want to feel better (Jas 5:14).  Elijah prayed for a child's life for the mother's sake (1 Kgs 17:20-21).  Paul prayed that Christians would be blessed so that God might be glorified (2 Thess 1:12).  We have examples of all three motivations for asking for God's help.  God states that human life has an intrinsic, precious value (Gen 9:6) The desire to preserve life is reason enough to ask for God's help.

Changing The Family Tree

Thursday, September 27, 2012
My boyfriend of two years is having a very hard time, and I am worried about him slipping into depression.  He is upset because he lives at home with his verbally and emotionally abusive father whom has been handicapped for the majority of his life and strung out on pain pills.  No matter how hard he tries, he cannot escape his father’s anger.  He is an amazing man but has begun to believe that because he was brought up by his father, he cannot succeed in life.

To make it worse, we are both newly saved, and this conflict with his dad is taking him away from this amazing blessing and making him forget how important forgiveness is.  He doesn’t see how he can forgive his father when he is constantly hurting him.  I was wondering if you could please help me find some words of inspiration from the Bible because although he has lost it in himself, he still has faith in the Bible.  Please help me show him that he is his own person and deserves to live a happy, healthy life.  He is an amazing person with an amazing heart, and he has been smothered by the hate of his father.

Sincerely,
Souly Concerned

Dear Souly Concerned,

Many times the burdens that we face when we first begin to obey God are the very hardest.  Jesus compared it to seed falling upon different types of soil.  The seed is the Word of God, and we are the soil.  Sometimes people are rocky soil, and the Word can’t take root because we can’t handle the trials of temptation.  Sometimes the soil is full of thorns, and the Word gets choked out by the cares and riches of this life.  Sometimes the seed falls beside the road, and the devil snatches the Word from our hearts before we even have a chance to grow.  And sometimes, the soil is rich and fertile, and the Word takes root and grows into a mighty plant (Lk 8:11-15).  You and your boyfriend are in the earliest stages of development.  Now is the time when you are most likely to be crushed and the Word snatched from your hearts and minds.  The devil is a roaring lion, just waiting to devour souls (1 Pet 5:8).

You don’t have to have great parents to be godly people.  The gospel routinely sets children against their parents… Christ said it would (Matt 10:34-36).  If Christ said that being a christian would make people fight against their upbringing, He also knows that it is possible to be victorious in that fight.  No temptation has overtaken you that others haven’t been through before (1 Cor 10:13).  You can do all things through Christ who strengthens you (Php 4:13).  You and your boyfriend need to be studying God’s Word and growing like babies longing for milk (1 Pet 2:2).  We recommend you continue to ask questions, continue to compare what people say to the Scriptures, and never accept anything less than Bible proof for everything you do.  You may find interest in listening to classes from our congregation at sermons.mvchurchofchrist.org.  God can do anything if we trust in His Word.

Cause Of Death

Tuesday, September 25, 2012
My mom died two weeks ago today due to an illness she had… alcohol and prescription pill abuse; she was sick with this illness for eight years.  The doctor said she took a lot of acetaminophen which caused her liver to fail and caused her to go into a coma.  On her death certificate, it says it was suicide.  My question is: did my mom go to hell for an illness?

Sincerely,
Ill At Heart

Dear Ill At Heart,

We here at AYP cannot and will not make a judgment on whether someone did or did not go to hell.  All we can do is tell you that sin brings spiritual death (Rom 6:23).  In order to go to heaven, we must have our sins washed away in the blood of Christ (1 Pet 1:18-19).  It is only through faith in Christ that we can have salvation (Jhn 14:6).  Read “What Must I Do To Be Saved” for exactly what it takes to become a Christian and have your sins washed away.

We wish to express our deepest and most heartfelt condolences to you in this time of sorrow.  Words cannot express the heartache and turmoil that a child has when their mother dies – especially under such tumultuous circumstances.  Find comfort in the fact that God does not make mistakes; wherever your mother ends up – it will be decided by a righteous and loving God (Ps 116:5).  The best thing that you can do is to turn to that loving God in your time of sorrow, so you can be sure that when you die, there will be no doubts about where you end up.

Kissing Cousins

Sunday, September 16, 2012
I have a friend, and he bounces back and forth with his spiritual beliefs.  At the present time, this person is intimate with his cousin.  I could explain the story, but the relevance I am looking for is Biblical.  Where in the scriptures does it talk about intimacy with cousins, family members, and so forth as wrong?  We grow up as kids being taught that it is wrong.  My friend thinks since he is not breaking any laws and they’re not having children, it is okay.  I know his motives are all wrong; it is all about the pleasure and selfish desires.  Please provide guidance and suggestions on how to approach this matter.  I am one who cares, but I also realize I am powerless.  What others do with their lives does not affect me… is it my business?

Sincerely,
My Family Tree Forks

Dear My Family Tree Forks,

In the New Testament, there is only one place that addresses the issue of fornication with family members.  1 Cor 5:1 mentions a man who had taken his father’s wife.  This verse wouldn’t condemn marrying a first cousin.  In fact, there aren’t any verses that would condemn that choice.  It may be socially unacceptable in America in this age (fifty years ago in America it was a fairly common practice), but it is not a sin.  The only intra-family relationships that are ever condemned in the Bible are relations among immediate family members (Lev 18:6-18).  The ordinance reaches as far as aunts and uncles, but it does not extend all the way to cousins.

However, this seems to be the least of your friend’s problems.  From what you have told us, he is committing fornication.  That is a sin no matter who is involved (1 Cor 6:18).  However, if your friend doesn’t care what the Bible says on that topic (and you have indicated that he doesn’t), you will be wasting your breath.  Don’t throw your pearls before swine (Matt 7:6).  Sadly, there is nothing you can do if he doesn’t want your help.

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