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.
I have a question that is somewhat troubling to me. Two friends of mine were having a debate about politics and religion, and one of them said that God hates the unrighteous. Put so point blank, it really made me think, and I did some reading online, searching Christian sites to see what people have to say about it and received further conflicting messages.
I know God hates sin, but God sent out His word to everyone in the world. The unsaved reject it, but it was sent to them. So how can He have tried to save people He hated? Does He hate them? If He does hate sinners, how does that go together with Jesus’ admonitions to love thy enemy and what He says about a doctor not coming for those already healthy but rather for those who are sick? Jesus and God are one, so clearly, if God hating the sinner is true, it goes to together somehow, but I don’t understand how.
I read someone’s comment that said, “A man who steals is a thief. God hates the thief who steals”, and yet, Jesus sought out thieves to save them.
This question is very troubling to me. I know everything God does is right, but somehow it is very hard to accept the plain statement ‘God hates the unsaved’. I know the unsaved will go to hell, and I know justice is very important to God, but again, Jesus, God, and the Holy Ghost are one, and there so many instances of compassion in the Bible that it’s hard to believe He just hates them, and that’s it. Or am I just having troubling believing this because I don’t want to believe it?
Not A Hater
Dear Not A Hater,
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). Here is the problem – when a person's life becomes so intertwined with sin that the sin has become the essence of who they are, God hates that. Ps 5:5, Ps 11:5, Lev 20:23, and Pr 6:16-19 makes that clear.
Think of it this way, if you saw someone push a small child, would you be upset at the action or upset at the person? The answer is both. The action came from the person and originated from their character. All sin is that way. God doesn't inherently hate people, but when someone consistently rebels against God, hurts others, spreads lies, and harms God's work here on Earth... God's anger extends to both the sins and the people who flagrantly commit them. They have chosen to put their lives in opposition to Him, and as much as it pains Him, He must consider them enemies.
I have a younger group of friends, and I love them, but one of them has already been married, left their spouse, and divorced them (not for scriptural reasons), and I have a second friend who is currently no longer living with their spouse and is going to divorce their spouse (not for scriptural reasons). It absolutely breaks my heart that they are doing this because marriage is such a blessing, a blessing that God instructed us not to dissolve unless there has been unfaithfulness by a spouse.
Having been at both friends’ weddings, I was a "witness" to their marriage, not to mention I have known them for so long that I want what is the very best for them. One friend is already divorced (a couple years ago), but what should I do, if anything, about my second friend? I worry so much for them and what consequences this will bring upon them.
Any advice you have will really help me greatly! Thank you!
Dear Struggling Friend,
It is such a difficult thing when we see others we love doing that which is so very harmful to their souls. What does the Bible teach to do in such matters? Here are a couple of principles to consider:
- Pr 23:23 says to “Buy the truth, and do not sell it.” The truth must always be more important to you than anything else, and you can’t compromise the truth and sell it out just to preserve a friendship… no matter how dear they are to you (Lk 14:26). In no way can you compromise your morals by saying that what they have done is no big deal or somehow okay. They have chosen to sin – plain and simple.
- The Bible also teaches that we should have mercy on those that are turning from the Lord and seek to snatch them from the fire and hate the sin at the same time (Jude 23). Being Christ-like means intertwining both the hatred of sin and the love of man together.
- You must also be careful to not compromise your own conscience. If you feel that doing things with them is sending the message that you don’t care about this sin and somehow approve of their decision, then you must obey your own conscience (1 Tim 1:5). How close or distant to be when a friendship is strained by sinful choices is a matter of wisdom and discretion. You must decide for yourself what boundaries to set.
Balancing these principles, here are our thoughts. If you haven’t already, you must make your position known to these friends. If they were seeking an abortion or some other clear sin, you would address them – divorce for any reason other than adultery is just as clear a sin (Matt 19:9).
You didn’t indicate whether or not these friends are Christians. If they are, hopefully their congregations will also be addressing them on this issue, and you wouldn’t be the only voice. If not, you may be the only person that they know who will stand in the gap for their spiritual well-being. After saying your piece, you can then treat the relationship like any other – watch and use wisdom to decide the boundaries and level of closeness, so you may both snatch them from the fire but not compromise your own firm convictions by being steamrolled by friends that have unfaithful convictions of their own. Allow your unwavering example to be a blessing, and then let them decide whether or not they want that blessing in their life.
Since there was slavery in the Bible, was slavery a sinful practice back when it was around? And would it still be considered sinful?
The Bible does not ever directly condemn slavery, but it does condemn treating slaves like property. In the Old Testament, God allowed a bankrupt Jew to sell himself as a slave to pay off his debts, however he was not to be abused or mistreated by his owner (Lev 25:39-40). God reiterates this idea in the New Testament. Slaves are to serve their masters loyally and faithfully (1 Tim 6:1, Tit 2:9). Masters are to treat their slaves as fellow humans, without threatening or hurting them (Eph 6:9). Masters are to be just and fair to their slaves (Col 4:1). God never says it is wrong to have slaves, but He very clearly denounces the brutality that we often associate with slavery. If a slave master lived as God commanded, he would treat his slaves as hired hands… and many Christians did just that in the first century.
However, God does make it clear that being a slave is a less than desirable situation. Slavery is a reality that exists within various parts of the world, so it must be dealt with from a Biblical perspective, but freedom is always a better option (1 Cor 7:21).
I am doing a paper on the sixth commandment for school. I have heard there is a verse that says, “God hates sin, but not the sinner.” Is that verse in the Bible, and if so, where, and if not, is there a similar verse that says something similarly? This paper is due soon, and I need the verse to complete my essay. Please help. Thanks!
Making The Grade
Dear Making The Grade,
There is no one verse that says, "God hates sin, but not the sinner." However, there are multiple verses that teach that principle. Hab 1:13 says that God is too pure to look upon evil, and Heb 1:9 talks about Jesus loving justice and hating iniquity. As far as God loving sinners, Jhn 3:16 probably will do the trick.