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Integrating Compassion with the Wisdom of God’s Word

askauntdara@gmail.com


The purpose of Aunt Dara’s Christian Advice Column is to glorify God by addressing human needs with compassion and the wisdom of God’s word.


Thursday, February 26, 2015

Afraid of People’s Reaction to Their Age Difference

Dear Aunt Dara,

I am currently dating a man who is 25 years older than I am.  He is 54 and I am 29.  We have been together nearly a year.  He is a Christian man and a minister.  He shows me that he genuinely cares for me and my 2 children.  I have prayed and prayed and asked God to take him out of my life if he isn't the right one for me, but he's still holding on strong.  I love him.  He is everything that I ever wanted in a man and he loves God.  We are considering marriage soon, but I am afraid of what others will say about our age difference.  I feel very strongly that God has confirmed our union in more ways than one, but I'm just so scared of what others would say.

The Younger Woman
 
Dear Young Woman, 

You should do what you believe God wants you to do, regardless of what other people might say.  If the two of you have been together for a year, have been praying for God to show you what He wants you to do, and the answer you keep getting is that God is confirming your union, then nobody else has any right to contradict God's will for you.  You have been blessed with a man who loves you and your children, so accept God's gift.

God bless,
Aunt Dara

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Should she Ignore her Family, Friends, and her Gut Feeling to Marry the Man She Loves?

Dear Aunt Dara,  

I am 25 years old and my boyfriend is 45 years old.  He has a sad past and now he has health issues.  I love him and I want to give him a happy life, but I'm worried that I will be left alone with my children one day due to our age differences, and I am afraid that my children will suffer without a father.  I am not sure if I can be strong enough to face the world as a single mother.  Also, I truly don't want to hurt him deeply because when I see him hurt, I hurt too.  I don’t want to leave him suffering.  I feel like a bad person if I don’t marry him and I do love him, but I’m afraid things will go wrong with the passing of time.  He is a very kind man and he would be a great husband.  I made a lot of mistakes when he was in the hospital, but he is faithful and forgiving.  Additionally, my parents and friends don't approve of our relationship, and they warn me that our marriage will not work out.  I would have married him already if I didn't have this strong gut feeling inside me and warnings from parents and close friends.  I’ve prayed about it, but I still have a gut feeling.  I tried to deny it because he is so kind, loving, and caring, and I love him deeply.  I am so confused.  If this gut feeling is from God, why would God try to prevent me from marrying him?  I don’t want to be alone again, and it will be harder if I have raise my children alone.  I’m confused and unable to decide whether to marry him or not.  If I decide not to marry him, does that make me a selfish person or bad or evil?  I feel so guilty if I don’t marry him.  I do love him but I can’t ignore my gut feeling.  What should I do?

Confused

Dear Confused,

Thank you so much for writing to me and trusting me with your situation.  I believe that God can speak to us in many ways, including through His written word (the Bible), through godly advice from other Christians, and through the leadings of the Holy Spirit—what you refer to as your gut feeling.  For you to be able to make the right decision, you must listen to what God is trying to tell you through the scriptures, through godly counsel, and through your own inner voice.  If you feel anxiety and confusion when you think about marrying this person, then marrying him is NOT the right thing to do.  When you have made the right choice, you will feel peace.  If you believe that your gut feeling is from God, then perhaps the reason God is trying to prevent you from marrying this man is because God is trying to tell you not to do it.  You are not selfish, bad or evil for not marrying someone.  If you have made mistakes, then repent and pray for forgiveness.  Do not complicate the situation by making another mistake.  Marriage will not ease a guilty conscience.

Also, I believe that you are confusing compassion with love.  Having compassion for someone and wanting to do something to ease their pain is not the type of love that can be the foundation of a marriage.  A marriage based on compassion or pity cannot last.  In the long run, this marriage could end up hurting both of you.

God bless,
Aunt Dara

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Family Excluded from Invitation to Christmas Dinner

Dear Aunt Dara,

My wife is upset because my sister invited my son and myself to Christmas dinner but did not invite my wife and her two daughters.  How should I handle this?

Thank you for your help,
Caught in the Middle

Dear Caught in the Middle,

Explain to your sister that you would love to attend her Christmas dinner, but would like to bring your wife and her daughters, too.  If she says that your wife and her daughters are not welcome to attend, you should respectfully decline the invitation.

God bless,
Aunt Dara

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

A Student in Love with His Teacher

Dear Aunt Dara,

I have had several crushes but never a girlfriend.  I'm in love with my instructor and it's just making me miserable!  I know ethically it is wrong so I'm polite to her and pretty much leave her alone, but confess that it hurts that she's either not into me or simply might not like me.  If history taught me anything it's that I end up feeling resentful, hurt, and disappointed when a special lady rejects me.  I guess either I'm unlovable or nothing good happens to me.  It's nice when there's a happy ending but it would be so sweet if it happened to me for once.  For now I intend to give a thank you card for the semester.  I put some time in decorating and writing it so I hope she likes it and it makes her happy. 

Hoping for Love in Return

Dear Hoping for Love,

Hopefully, I can shed some light on this for you.  The reason that your instructor is not showing you any sign that she likes you is this:  She is a paid professional who is doing her job—teaching students—and you are a student.  For her to become personally involved with a student would not only be unethical, it would place her job in jeopardy.  In other words, she could be disciplined by her employer up to and including being fired.  So, you must understand that a sweet card from you will get you nowhere because she is unavailable.

True love means that you put the other's interests ahead of your own desires. That is why the Bible tells us to consider the needs of others (Philippians 2:3-4).  If you really care for your instructor, you will let her do her job and find someone else who is available to you.  
 
God bless,
Aunt Dara 

Saturday, October 11, 2014

She’s Afraid to Tell Her Parents About Her Boyfriend

Dear Aunt Dara,

I am 24 and have been dating a 39-year-old man.  He has an 8-year-old son and has never been married.  We appear to be very compatible and have many common interests.  I enjoy the time I spent with him and his son.  However, my closest friends do not support our relationship.  We've been seeing each other for 6 months now and I have not told my parents.  Part of the reason I have not told them is because I can already predict what they will say and think.  He is a great guy, really easy-going, considerate, intuitive, and kind.  We became good friends at first, and then it lead to dating.  Now I need to figure out where this is going.  Do you have any advice?


Wondering about the Future 

Dear Wondering, 

Thanks for writing to me.  Unfortunately, I can identify two huge red flags in your situation.  First, your closest friends don't support your relationship.  Secondly, you have kept this relationship secret from your parents due to your concern that they will react negatively.  If he really is as wonderful as you describe, then why would your friends disapprove, and why are you afraid of your parents' reaction?  If the only concern is the age difference, then your parents should be glad that you have found someone who is a great guy, considerate, easy-going, intuitive, and kind, even if he is 15 years older than you are.  So, where do you see this going?  If you are too afraid to let your parents know about him, then I don't see this relationship going anywhere that would be good or healthy.

God bless,
Aunt Dara

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The Response to a Personal Invitation

To Nancy H. in Seattle:  Thank you for the gracious invitation, but I must respectfully decline.

God bless,
Aunt Dara

Sunday, August 24, 2014

How to Deal with Discord


Hello Aunt Dara, 

I first want to thank you for taking the time to answer our questions!  My problem is about discord and how to deal with it.  I currently go to a university that is now divided on a very public issue.  I've taken the time to observe both views, and I understand both sides of the argument.  My stance is somewhat on the middle ground, but I'm still torn between two views.  However, it saddens me to see both my friends and professors acting in such an unscholarly way in response to discord.  They are taking stances without considering the view of those on the other side.  I'm especially disappointed in my professors.  The way they go about taking sides (speaking about the problem during lecture, writing about their opinions for the school newspaper, etc.) makes me sad because they didn't consult or try to understand the other side. 

I've tried to search online what the Bible says about dealing with discord, and I've found nothing.  What do you think Christ might do, say or think in this situation?  What might he say to me? 

Sincerely,
Torn and Disappointed 

Dear Torn and Disappointed,

Actually, the Bible has a lot to say about how to handle disagreements and conflict, depending on how many people are involved and what the issue is.  We know that this situation involves two groups of people with opposing viewpoints.  However, I think you may be making an assumption that the professors are taking sides without understanding the opposing viewpoint.  The professors have probably researched the topic thoroughly (that’s what scholars do), and have reached a conclusion that they believe is right and defensible.  Furthermore, it appears that they think that the issue is important enough to instruct others who have the opposing view.

When Jesus was asked about issues in which people had differing views, He based His response on what the scriptures say and used it as an opportunity to teach (see Matthew 19) and to correct error (see Matthew 22:23-33).  Nowhere are we given an example of Jesus compromising on the truth or saying, “Well, I can see both sides of he issue.”  Jesus was not concerned if anyone was offended by the truth (Matthew 15:11-13, John 6:60-69).  We are to follow Jesus’ example by first determining if the Bible says anything about the issue.  If it does, then we are to teach others what the Bible says, even if it offends someone or contradicts current societal trends or popular belief.  God’s word is still God’s word, regardless of political correctness (Exodus 23:2).  Anything that was sin in the First Century is still a sin in the Twenty-First Century.  However, we should not be arrogant or aggressive in teaching truth or correcting error.  Please refer to 2 Timothy 2:23-26; 3:16 - 4:4, Galatians 6:1, 1 Corinthians 6:1-8, and James 5:19-20.

However, if the Bible is silent on the issue, Paul instructs us on how to handle differences of opinion in the 14th chapter of Romans.  Present day issues that might be comparable to what Paul refers to as a “disputable matter” are disagreements about the role of women in the church and using contemporary Christian music versus traditional hymns.

Bottom line:  Speak where the Bible speaks and remain silent where the Bible is silent.

God bless,
Aunt Dara