Ask Your Preacher
5 minutes a day 5 days a week All the New Testament in a year
I was watching a special on Michael Jackson this weekend which prompts my question: is plastic surgery wrong? Obviously, Michael Jackson appears to have had way beyond what most of us would consider a normal nip or tuck, but when does the pursuit of vanity become sinful? What about changing your hair color, wearing makeup, or even getting braces to make your smile more pleasing?
Sincerely, Flummoxed Fashionista
Dear Flummoxed Fashionista,
It isn’t inherently wrong for a christian to change their appearance for beauty’s sake, but we do need to be careful. See the post “The 411 On The Bling Bling” for more details on the subject of wearing jewelry. Plastic surgery is a more extreme version of makeup or jewelry. It is precisely its extreme nature that should make christians wary of using it. Makeup and jewelry are intended to enhance someone’s natural appearance, while surgery is intended to permanently alter it.
Vanity is a sin. We are not supposed to glory in appearances (2 Cor 5:12). The most vivid Biblical example of the folly of vanity is Absalom who died because of his love of his beautiful hair (2 Sam 14:25-26, 2 Sam 18:9-14). Furthermore, we are supposed to be content with what God provides us with (Php 4:11), and that includes the body He has given us. Plastic surgery (if done for purely cosmetic reasons and not medical ones) smacks of being discontent with what God has designed. The more superficial our world becomes, the more christians need to remember what is truly important… not the outward flesh, but the inward man (2 Cor 4:16).
While visiting a congregation in Hawaii, they announced having a birthday lunch celebration in their building after services. They invited visitors. We chose not to take part in this. Is having lunch in the church building right or wrong?
Sincerely, It’s Not My Birthday
Dear It’s Not My Birthday,
It’s wrong unless having the lunch is specifically a part of something the church is meant to focus on… and celebrating birthdays isn’t something the church is meant to focus on. The work of a congregation is a very important subject because what a congregation does tells you what is important to them. Most of us have seen churches that are merely social organizations. These groups talk about Jesus, but they are really only interested in having fun and making people feel good. Christ’s church needs to do what Christ wants it to do. It isn’t about what makes us happy, but about what makes Him happy. We are here to do God’s work (Jhn 4:34). If we want to be God’s church, we need to be busy doing what His church did in the Bible. That means we only spend the church’s time, money (the building is part of the church’s money), and effort on things that we can read about the church doing in the Bible. There are only four things we see the church of Jesus Christ doing.
- Caring for needy christians. The church has the right and responsibility to spend its time and money to help take care of christians that are suffering financially (Acts 4:35, Acts 6:1, Acts 11:28-30).
- Teach christians. Any congregation that belongs to Jesus has to teach christians about God’s Word, so they will grow and mature in Christ (Eph 4:11-13, 1 Cor 4:17, Acts 15:35). They also have the right to support preachers and elders who are dedicating themselves to teaching (1 Tim 5:17-18).
- Preaching to the lost. Perhaps the greatest responsibility of a congregation is to bring the gospel to those who are dead in their sins (Acts 11:26). The church is supposed to preach to the lost because mankind will go to hell without the Bible’s saving words (Rom 1:16).
- Worship God. The church is supposed to assemble together (Heb 10:25) and worship God. They do this by singing (Col 3:16), praying (Acts 12:5), studying (Acts 2:42), taking the Lord’s Supper on Sunday (Acts 20:7), and taking up a collection on Sunday (1 Cor 16:1).
This is the stuff that Jesus wants His church to be doing. If we aren’t doing that (or if we are doing stuff other than that) – we are no longer His church. His church does what He wants, not what it wants. Everything a church does needs to somehow be specifically involved in furthering one of those four tasks. A church-sponsored birthday party doesn’t fit into those categories. Birthday parties are great, but they aren’t what Jesus’ church is here for.
5 minutes a day 5 days a week All the New Testament in a year
Well, I'm 23; I already have two kids out of wedlock (four years old and one year old); their father and I broke up. I'm staying with my aunt, and I have gotten myself pregnant by another man who wants nothing to do with this. Should I keep this baby?? Part of me believes God gave me this baby for a reason, and it's still a blessing, and He wouldn’t give me anything if He wouldn’t help me out... but part of me doesn’t want to bring this baby into the world, and I can’t financially take care of it in the best way, and I don’t want to deprive my two kids already. It would be almost impossible for me to give my child away to someone else (adoption) after carrying it the whole time and bonding with it. What should I do?? I have been asking God, but I don’t know how to hear His answer for me... please help me and don’t judge me. Thank you so much.
Sincerely, A Family Alone
Dear A Family Alone,
You obviously recognize that you’ve got a great deal of problems and struggles ahead of you, but harming an innocent child won’t make things easier. God provides all of the answers to life in the Bible (2 Pet 1:3). The Bible teaches very clearly that abortion is wrong. A baby in the womb is just as much a life as it is when it leaves the womb. John the Baptist leapt in his mother’s womb and was referred to as a baby (Lk 1:41). Even in your statement, “Should I keep this baby?” - you recognize that it is a human being that you carry in your womb. That life is precious and made in the image of God like all human life (Gen 1:26).
The technical answer is that it is wrong for you to get the abortion. But there is more that you need to know. If you have the courage to bring your child into this world, God will bless you for that decision. When we are faithful, God doesn’t allow us to be tempted beyond what we are able (1 Cor 10:13). Even though you will face many trials as you struggle through the days and years ahead, God will take care of you and your children. God always provides for the needs of the righteous (Ps 37:25). It won’t always be easy, but you will be taken care of. God will cause all things to work together for your good… even this struggle will become a blessing if you trust God (Rom 8:28). We here at AskYourPreacher are praying for you as you show the courage to obey God and raise your children faithfully (Pr 22:6).