Ask Your Preacher

Ask Your Preacher

FAMILY

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Is Chivalry Dead?

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Why was it, when men were about to be confronted with their enemies and they were afraid for their lives, they'd put their livestock in front of them, then their children and their wives/concubines, and then themselves?  This seems like a very cowardly act to me, and I've pondered it quite a while now.

Could it have been that they were showing the enemy just how much they had, or was it that they were simply afraid, and they were willing to sacrifice what was in front of them instead of being brave and defending their family and their livestock?

I also think it was horrible when different men would have other men they were scared of knocking at their door and demanding they send out certain men/visitors, and the man inside would say, “I've got this virgin daughter, or I've got my wife or concubine in here; let me send them out, but leave these men alone.” WOW. What in the world were they thinking?

Sincerely, Women And Children First

Dear Women And Children First,

The women and children went first as a sign of subservience and a reminder of the fact that these men had families to care for – that is why Jacob did it.The story you indicated occurs in Genesis chapter 32 and 33.Jacob’s brother, Esau, had been bitterly angry with him ever since Jacob got Esau’s birthright and blessing from their father, Isaac (Gen 27:36).Esau had attempted to kill Jacob when they were younger (Gen 27:42).It had been decades since the two brothers last saw each other, but Jacob still feared his brother’s wrath (Gen 32:11).Jacob sent livestock ahead as gifts to his brother (Gen 32:13-18).He then sent his wives and children, Esau’s nieces and nephews (Gen 33:1-2).Jacob went last in order to show his humility and lowliness.It was an act of peace, not a defensive war-time tactic.

In the case of men offering their daughters and concubines up for rape… that just shows the degradation of their character.In both cases where that happened (Sodom – Gen 19:8 and Gibeah – Judg 19:24), the societies were so utterly immoral that they were destroyed not long after.Sodom was destroyed directly by God (Gen 19:24), and Gibeah was destroyed by Israel (Judg 20:43).Both of those societies were condemned by man and God for their degenerate evil ways.The Bible records the history of these societies, but that doesn’t mean it condones them.

Wayward Sister

Thursday, August 02, 2012
My sister fell away a few years ago and has been living with her boyfriend, soon to be husband. She hasn't been living a life that is outlined in the Bible in any way shape or form. Should I withdraw myself from her completely, keep my distance but still talk to her, or act like nothing is wrong and carry on like normal?

Truly,
Worried and Confused Sibling

Dear Worried and Confused Sibling,

I suggest communicating your concerns and then having as normal a relationship with your sister as is possible under the circumstances.  Close relatives and loved ones falling away can be torturous on the rest of the family.  Your relationship isn't as clear cut as the rest of the brethren in this case.  The church is given strict orders to withdraw and not associate with a wayward brother or sister (1 Cor 5:13). However, the immediate family doesn't have the same "black and white" guidelines.  In fact, we see that they sometimes are commanded to do the opposite- as in the case of an unbelieving spouse (1 Cor 7:13).

There can be no doubt that your relationship has changed with your sister.  To deny the change would go against your conscience (which is wrong - 1 Tim 3:9).  I recommend a heartfelt prayerful letter addressing the issue.  Tell her how you feel about her choices, how much she matters to you, and that your concerns for her and her husband-to-be are out of love and that you only voice them because your relationship with her matters to you.  That kind of letter leaves the door open for further/discussion and interaction while also appeasing your conscience.  You will know that you have "done what you can" and don't have to worry about every family gathering, phone call, visit, etc. being seen as passive approval of her choices.

Underage Dating

Monday, July 16, 2012
     This girl and I have been dating for almost eight months, and we truly believe with all our hearts that we are meant for each other; we've even had dreams about each other with kids, too, but her parents won’t give us permission to be together, and her sister is even telling us we’re wrong, but she stared dating even younger than us.  The thing is, my girl is scared of getting in trouble.  What do we do?

Sincerely,
The Guy

Dear The Guy,

The right thing to do is probably not what you want to hear.  Col 3:20 says that it brings joy to God when children obey their parents… that is what you should do.  As much as it may be painfully difficult for you two to put your dating and family plans on hold, the right thing to do is to respect her parents’ wishes.

Eph 6:1-3 says that God blesses children when they obey their parents.  That means that even if her parents are making the wrong call, you will be blessed by honoring them.  God causes all things to work together for good (Rom 8:28), and when you do the hard thing, it inevitably turns out better in the long run.

It sounds like you are surrounded by people that you disagree with, but these people still care about you and have your best interests at heart.  Parents and children don’t always see eye-to-eye, so it is an act of faith for children to obey their parents even when they disagree.  God will bless you both if you show patience.  After all, “not now” isn’t the same as “not ever”.

Angry At The End

Sunday, July 01, 2012
       My sister is VERY angry, angry at God over a health condition because she has asked many, many times to be healed, had people pray over her many times, has not been healed, and now has to go through surgery.  If she were (God forbid) to die before having that resolved, if ever, would she still go to heaven?  She still believes there is a God and became a born-again many years ago.  She definitely has changed her beliefs about a lot of biblical things that were taught her through the years, but I am really wondering about this.  I wonder what God and Jesus think, knowing how angry she is.  And what if she even called God a name that was not nice?  That came out of her pain and fear, I know.  Thank you.

Sincerely,
Suffering Sibling

Dear Suffering Sibling,

It is questions like these that make us very thankful that we don’t have to do God’s job.  God is the final judge, not us (Heb 12:23), so we can’t specifically tell you whether or not your sister will go to heaven.  We are warned against bitterness and wrath (Eph 4:31); there is no doubt that it is a sin to live with hate in your heart for anyone… especially God.  However, no one goes to heaven based upon sinless living; we go to heaven based upon our faith in Jesus Christ (Jhn 14:6).  Your sister’s eternal fate will depend upon whether or not she has allowed her anger to turn her away from God or whether she is faithful, but struggles, with this attitude problem.

House Of Pain

Saturday, June 30, 2012
     This is my question: my mother and father are very bad people; they use people and hurt people.  They abused us until we were old enough to get away.  Now that we have moved away, we want nothing to do with them at all.  We don’t hate them and have forgiven them in our hearts, but my father gets our number every now and then and tells us that we are ugly souls because we won't let him and my mother back into our lives and that we need to talk to a preacher and ask for forgiveness.  He said that if we really forgave him, we would let him back around us.  My father has come into our house; the last time he was here, he wrecked it by dumping trash everywhere and punching holes in the wall all because he was having a bad day, and my mother has stolen from us on many occasions (one time in the amount of $1,500).  My mother and father have never apologized for any of this and continue to behave in this manner; this is why we choose to have nothing to do with them.  Are we in the wrong?  Should we let them come around again?

Sincerely,
Bruised Kid

Dear Bruised Kid,

Showing forgiveness is not the same as trusting someone.  You have every right to set boundaries in your life if someone is corrupting you with their bad company (1 Cor 15:33).  If you have respectfully tried to show your parents the boundaries (and it sounds like you have), there comes a time when you must put your immediate family before your extended family.  You have a responsibility to your parents, but you have a greater responsibility to your work out your own salvation (Php 2:12).  It is unfortunate that you are in this situation, but Christ even said that sometimes Christian morality will divide families (Matt 10:34-35).  We cannot tell you exactly what lines to draw (that is a matter of wisdom, not doctrine), but you are perfectly scriptural in setting boundaries if they aren’t trustworthy or good influences.

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