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Archive for the ‘Family’ Category

Control Freaks

I broke off from my fiance almost a year ago because I realized he was a very angry and controlling person, demanding I do everything his way. He’s moved on to someone else but why do I find myself praying that God will bring us back together? It doesn’t make any sense. — D.L.

A: I see a pattern here. The god of the bible is also very angry and controlling and demands that you do everything it’s way. I would advise you to seek therapy and try very hard to break your dependence on control freaks. Start with your ex-fiance and your imaginary god.

Billy Graham’s answer.

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We Are Family

Q: I guess you could say I burned my bridges with my family over 20 years ago. They weren’t perfect, but I have to admit I was the main problem. Now that I’m older (and hopefully wiser), I’d like to get back in contact, but they aren’t interested. Should I just forget it? — J.H.

A: If you really would like to restore relationships with your family, you may need to demonstrate to them that you have changed (if indeed you have) and that they could benefit from the relationship. To be most effective, your family should see (by your actions) that you are a nicer person than the one they new 20 years ago. You may be have to be patient. Your family will likely need time to be sure that you have really changed and are not pretending to be someone you are not. However, you should be prepared for the eventuality that your family will never accept a relationship with you. If you are a caring, altruistic person, it should not be too difficult for you to establish deep and healthy relationships with other people in your community.

Billy Graham’s answer.

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No Use For God

Q: Is it possible to be so far from God that it becomes impossible for Him to reach you? I worry about this with my brother, because he’s never had any use for God and I don’t think he’ll ever change. — S.T.

A: I answered a similar question last November.

Q: Does God ever give up on some people? I have a cousin who just laughs whenever anyone starts talking about God, and he says he’ll just take his chances when it comes time to die. Several of us in our family pray for him regularly but he looks like a hopeless case to me. — S.Y.

              A: The possibility that any gods exist is extremely remote. The chances that the god you believe in are even more so. It then follows that heaven and hell do not exist and your cousin is not in danger of eternal punishment in any hell. Belief in gods and religions initially arose as attempts to explain the existence of the physical universe and mankind’s place in it and as a way to impose order and rules on society. Since these roles are no longer necessary (thanks to scientific discoveries and the emergence of democracy throughout the world), established religions attempt to maintain their status and power by dictating their (oftentimes ridiculous) rules under threat of eternal damnation. If the word “hopeless” were relevant here, it would apply to your belief that prayers to your god will have any effect on our reality.

Billy Graham’s answer.

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Religious Education

Q: How old does a child have to be before they can understand the Gospel and make their decision to follow Jesus? Neither my husband nor I grew up in a religious home, so we’re sort of feeling our way on this with our own children. — N.M.

A: You seem to be implying that a child will automatically decide “to follow Jesus”. If that is the case, then this child is not making a an informed, mature decision but being indoctrinated into the Christian faith without choice. To be fair to your child, you should teach him about a large number religious beliefs including Islam, Judaism, Hindu, Buddhism, Mormonism, etc. without prejudice or bias and the history of the origin of these beliefs. At the same time, he should be taught about the many mythologies ( e.g., Greek, Egyptian, Zulu, Norse, Celtic, Mayan) created by humans over our history. With this knowledge, your child should be able to make an informed decision about the credibility of your religion and others. The timing of this decision should be left entirely up to your child. If you follow my suggestion, you should understand that your child may not choose to follow your religion. You might not like this result, but your son will likely respect you for taking this open approach.

Billy Graham’s answer.

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Mr. Know-It-All

Q: How should you deal with someone who always feels like they have to be right? My cousin is like this, and even when he’s obviously in the wrong he’ll never admit it, or if he does, he blames someone else for the problem. Why is he like this? — H.J.

A: I’m not exactly sure why your cousin is like this, but he may be trying to compensate for some feelings of inadequacy in other areas of his life. I dealt with a coworker several years ago that was like this. My best advice would be to minimize your interaction with him and try not to get into arguments. If he says something to someone that you know is false, you may want to approach that person in private and explain your doubts of the truthfulness of your cousin’s statement.

Billy Graham’s answer.

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Fiancée

Q: Our son got engaged over Christmas. I suppose we should be happy, but we honestly wonder if our future daughter-in-law is right for him. Should we say something, or is it best to keep out of it? They seem to be deeply in love, and they both feel God brought them together. — N.J.

A: I think it depends on how old (or mature) your son is. The older or more mature he is, the less I would recommend being frank about your concerns. And then, I would only recommend saying something to him if his fiancée has demonstrated reckless or irresponsible behavior that your son doesn’t know about or appears to be ignoring.

Irrespective of whether you voice your concerns about his fiancée, you can always ask him if they have discussed and agree on major life issues such as having children, financial goals, career goals, etc. You may also suggest that they seek some type of premarital counseling that will help them consider and discuss these types of issues.

Billy Graham’s answer.

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Seeking Forgiveness

Q: My husband and I went through a rough time in our marriage several years ago, and although things are much better now, he still won’t forgive me for my actions during those months. How can I persuade him that it’s all behind me and I truly love him? It’s like a dark cloud. — W.W.

A: Trust in a marriage (or any relationship) is very difficult to regain once it is lost. However, trust between two people is one of the most important aspects of a successful marriage. It is possible that your husband will never be able to forgive you or trust you again. Since your marriage appears to be stable now, I would suggest having a frank discussion about what you both want out of your marriage in the future and what you can each contribute. If you feel that forgiveness and trust are important, tell him. If he loves you and wants your marriage to continue and to be happy, he should be able to articulate what will lead him to forgive you. It may just take time. If you cannot reach an agreement that you think will ultimately result in his forgiveness and a re-earning of his trust, you may want to consider a divorce, so that you each have the opportunity to establish new, healthy, loving relationships. I would highly encourage you and your husband to seek out a certified marriage counselor to assist you in working through this process.

Billy Graham’s answer.

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