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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.


Friday, March 24, 2017

Boy Doesn’t Want to Talk to Her

PART 1

Dear Aunt Dara,

A guy friend and I used to talk a lot, but now he says he doesn't want to talk to me anymore.  He started talking to me initially because he wanted me to have sex with him with no strings attached.  I told him I wasn't interested in that and he agreed.  We always stayed friends and I even went out with him a couple of times, but nothing sexual ever happened.  A couple of weeks ago he confessed to me that he has been scared to enter into a relationship because he has never been successful in them.  He told he was ready for one now and he seemed very interested to talk to me.  However, my dad saw previous text messages that he sent me on my phone that had sexual content in them and decided to have a talk with his father that same day.  My father told his father that “he needs to teach his son how to respect women."  My friend told me that he doesn’t want to talk to me anymore.  He said that I should take care of myself and told me goodbye. 
 

I still think about him almost every day.  I am trying my best to focus on myself but he always pops into my mind.  I really still want us to be friends, but I don't want to get burned if I try to talk to him.  I have this strong urge to speak to him and apologize for what happened.  I didn't mean for it to turn out this way.  Should I apologize to him?  If so, how should I go about doing it?  Should I really be friends with him?  Was he really ever my friend?  Do you even think he likes me enough to talk to me again?

Sincerely,
Wanting Friendship 
 

Dear Wanting Friendship,

You asked my opinion about whether or not you should contact this young man to apologize and whether or not you should continue a friendship with him.  My opinion is that you should do neither for the following reasons:

1.  Your father does not want you to have anything to do with this young man.
2.  The young man himself told you that he doesn't want to talk to you anymore.
3.  You didn't do anything that requires an apology from you.

It's doubtful that you ever had or could ever have a meaningful friendship with this young man.  I say this because his first contact with you was a request for sex.  Men who respect women do not ask for sex first thing, and a man who does not respect women can never be a friend to a woman.  You would be wise to use this as a learning experience and avoid getting involved with men of this type in the future.  When your father found those text messages, he did what any other loving, responsible father would have done—he took immediate steps to protect his daughter.  Your father did the right thing, and he is giving you good advice.  Listen to him.  

God bless,
Aunt Dara

PART 2 

Hello Aunt Dara,

I do not know if you remember a couple of months ago my dad got angry with a young man who wanted to have sex with me and that boy told me he never wanted to talk to me anymore.  Well he is now talking to me and the strangest thing is he admits that what my father did was best for him.  Also he seems way more interested to speak with me and he even told me he wants to take me out on a date.  The craziest thing is I am starting to get very big feelings for him.  What should I do?   

Sincerely,
Wanting Friendship 

Dear Wanting Friendship,

Thanks for writing to me again.  I am glad to get an update on this situation, and I am glad that the young man has expressed recognition that your father was right.  However, I want to remind you that men who are interested in sex will say anything they think you want to hear, so be cautious with him.  The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior, and his past behavior toward you has not been honorable.  A person's true character is not what he tells you it is.  His true character is what he has consistently demonstrated over time.  Trust is something that has to be earned.  Take it slowly and allow time for him to demonstrate that he has changed.  In the meantime, I would suggest that you avoid any situation in which you may be alone with him.  Don't allow yourself to be put into any situation in which he may seduce you or take advantage of you sexually.  Also, just because a man shows you attention, that is not an indication that he is the right one for you.  Lonely people crave attention, and predators can always sense that.  Be careful.  Don't let yourself confuse the good feelings you get when someone shows you attention with love.

God bless,
Aunt Dara

Monday, February 20, 2017

Worried about His Wife’s Mixed Gender Sleeping Arrangement on a Trip without Him

Dear Aunt Dara, 

I would value some advice.  My lovely and attractive Christian wife is very friendly with another (non-Christian but very nice) lady who is into mountain hiking.  As a result, my wife goes to visit her in the mountains for a long weekend every year.  Up to now this has just involved day-trips out in the snow from a fixed base.  But this year the friend is planning a stay all night in mountain, in huts with mixed-sex dorms.  Having looked online, these are generally where men and women sleep right next to each other on one long sleeping platform.  I do not feel at all comfortable about this, but am I just being worrying needlessly?  My wife says it is okay.  She said the mountaineering community seem to do it all the time, but I just don’t feel right about it and I don’t feel right about my wife doing this.  As a man, I frankly cannot see why men would stop thinking like men do about women, just because they are up a mountain!  Additionally, I just don’t feel it is right to be sleeping together with other men in this way.  I am told that no undressing occurs, but I cannot believe there is a firm guarantee of that!  I trust my wife, but we just don’t seem to be on the same page on this topic!  Am I just being silly in my unhappiness about this situation?  I would appreciate your considered thoughts.  

Thanks and God bless,
Country Boy 

Dear Country Boy,

No, you are not being silly.  You are being wise and sensible.  The Bible tells us to avoid even the very appearance of evil (1 Thessalonians 5:22), and that would certainly apply to this situation.  Even if nothing happened between these individuals sharing sleeping quarters, at the very least it would give rise to the possibility of immorality and damage your wife's Christian influence.  A Christian must always guard ones’ reputation and demonstrate a life of purity by not placing oneself in situations that will give others a reason to accuse one of sin (1 Timothy 5:22; 1 Peter 2:11-12). 
A Christian woman must remain chaste and obey her husband (Titus 2:5).  Please reason with your wife and explain your concerns.  Hopefully, she will change her mind.

God bless,
Aunt Dara

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Her Boyfriend Thinks that God Doesn’t Want Them to be Together

Dear Aunt Dara,

I was seeing a man for a little while; he was a man of God.  He went to Church 3-4 times a week.  He helped me change and look at things completely different - in a positive way.  When I met him, I was in a bad place mentally.  I had recently gotten out of an emotionally, verbally, mentally abusive relationship.  I was broken and ruined and then I meet this new man.  I'll call him “Joe.”  I feel like God put Joe in my life for a reason.  I don't think how we met was coincidence or perfect timing.  I truly believe that God put him in my life to help me heal, to better myself, to help put me on the right track and to be the person I was put on earth to be.  We got along great, but then one day, Joe sent me a message saying that God doesn't want us to be together anymore.  I was completely blindsided.  I was heartbroken and I still am a little bit.  I thought he was sent by God to help me, but not to be temporary.  It doesn't make sense.  Why God would do this; why He would let me meet this wonderful man who has helped me let my guard down, to believe in love again, yet tell that same person we aren't meant for each other?  I was just finally learning how to trust and believe in love again - then this happens.  I don't understand.  I asked him why.  I asked Joe what I did that caused him (or God) to no longer want to be in my life.  He said, "If God wants us to be together, He will give signs on us reconnecting."  Now here's why I'm a little confused:  All three of my ex-boyfriends have come back and asked for another chance, yet I don't think any of them were the one to spend my life with.  I know the devil sends us people to throw us off track, but I firmly believe Joe wasn't that.  I need some advice because I'm so confused and I honestly am heartbroken because Joe said he has strong feelings for me and wants to be with me, but God doesn't what him to be with me.  Why?  What kind of sign will we receive, or better yet, what kind of sign will Joe receive if I am meant for him?  How will I know if the next man I meet is "the one?"  I had two previous boyfriends that I believed were truly the one, yet they didn't work out either.  Please help me see the light which is dimming slowly.  Thank you and I appreciate you taking the time to read my post.

Totally Confused

Dear Totally Confused,

I can see that you are feeling very sad and confused, and that is quite understandable.  Joe’s behavior is confusing.  God’s behavior, however, is not.  God is not the author of confusion (1 Corinthians 14:33).  God knows exactly what He is doing, and God does not make mistakes.  Humans do make mistakes, and one of the most common mistakes that we make is believing that God is directly sending us signs and messages.  Apparently, Joe believes that he has received a message from God regarding you, but many people have mistakenly believed that they were receiving messages from God and have made mistakes that they have long regretted because they followed what they believed was a message from God.  The Bible tells us, “The heart is deceitful above all things” (Jeremiah 17:9).  The Bible tells us that in times past God spoke to individuals through various ways (such as directly, audibly, in dreams, in visions, through prophets, and other ways), but now He speaks to us through the words of Jesus and the Bible which is the inspired word of God (Hebrews 1:1-2, 2 Peter 1:21).  It’s very easy to misinterpret our own thoughts, feelings, or dreams as being messages from God, and just as easy to misinterpret events as being signs from God.  Despite what Joe says, he really has no way of knowing that God does not want you to be together, and it’s highly doubtful that God will send him or you a “sign” that you are meant for each other. 

Similarly, I think that it is a mistake to believe that God has chosen “the one” that we are meant to be with, as many Christians seem to believe.  Although that may be true in some circumstances (Isaac and Rebekah come to mind in Genesis chapter 24), that is certainly not the way it is for most, nor is this idea taught in Scripture.  God can bless any relationship between a Christian man and woman who seek the Lord first.  So, why did God bring Joe into your life?  For the reasons you mentioned:  to help you to heal and to help you believe in love again.  Joe was God’s gift to you for that purpose.  Maybe Joe will be in your life longer, and maybe not.  If not, then be assured that God will take care of you and bring another person into your life, if that is His will.  However, if someone is removed from your life, realize that it may be for the best and let him go.  Give this time.  If it is meant to be, it will be in the natural course of time—not because God sends him or you a message or a sign.

God bless,
Aunt Dara

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Too Young to be Dating

Part One

Dear Aunt Dara,

I am 14 years old and in the eighth grade.  I have never liked the idea of dating in middle school, which is why prior to this year I never have.  In October I was asked out by a boy in my grade.  Every teacher would tell you all about how smart and mature he is for his age.  I agreed to date him to see how it would go.  Another reason I agreed to date him is because he loves the Lord, which is very important to me.  Many of the teachers that I trust have told me that they think our relationship is completely okay to have in middle school because we are both seen as more mature than the rest of the grade.  However, being in the relationship, I'm not sure I believe that anymore.  After all, we are only 14.  How mature can a 14-year-old really be?  Right?  Getting to the point, I'm not sure this whole dating thing at my age is a good idea.  But also taking into consideration that I have problems with stress and often question a lot in my life, I wonder if I am overreacting.  I have also recently been trying to find my identity in Christ and grow in my relationship with Him.  It is the most important thing in my life right now to have a good, strong, relationship with the Lord.  I am trying so hard to have better faith in Him and not struggle with doubt so much.  I feel like a 'romantic relationship' does not contribute to my needs right now.  I also have stuff at home I am trying to juggle, and I don't know that I want to be juggling a boyfriend on top of all of this.  I have been praying so much trying to figure out what to do, and I just feel stuck.  If I break up with him, I know it will introduce drama into my life and stress me out.  If I stay with him, I'm right back where I started.  I don't think he'll just want to be friends, because he is very serious about me and our relationship, more serious than I have ever been about us.  What do I do?  Do I break up with him and potentially throw away our friendship?  Please help, thanks.


Too Young 

Dear Too Young, 

Thank you for writing to me and trusting me with your situation.  I can see why people tell you that you are mature for your age.  Your letter shows that you have wisdom beyond your years.  You are correct in saying that 14 is very young to be dating.  You are also demonstrating wisdom in saying that your priority is finding your identity in Christ and growing in your relationship with Him.  May I suggest that you can keep your boyfriend and build your faith in Jesus both at the same time?  I shall explain.  You said that your boyfriend is intelligent, mature and he loves the Lord.  Who better to help you grow spiritually than someone who loves you and loves the Lord, and is developing his own relationship with the Lord also?  What I am suggesting is that you back off a little on the "romance" and dating and develop the friendship side of your relationship by working toward mutual spiritual growth.  He sounds like someone who would be healthy for you.  Keep him. 

God bless,
Aunt Dara 

Part Two 

Dear Aunt Dara,

I really appreciate your advice.  Unfortunately, we broke up.  It seems to be the best choice since my parents are not totally supportive when it comes to me dating, and I'm still not completely for the idea of dating at my age.  I still really want to stay friends with him, but we both took this pretty hard and I'm not quite sure how to get over him to the point where we can become friends again.  Any advice?

Too Young 

Dear Too Young, 

I am so sorry to learn that you broke up and that both of you are taking it pretty hard.  As I said before, you could have helped each other to grow spiritually if both of you backed off from the romantic "dating" and developed your Christian friendship.  The Bible is very clear that we need other Christians to encourage and support us (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12; Galatians 6:1-2; 1Thessalonians 5:11; Hebrews 3:12-13; Hebrews 10:24-25; James 5:16).  Not knowing the circumstances of how you broke up, it would be difficult for me to give any suggestions on how to repair the relationship, except to say that open, honest communication, heartfelt apologies and forgiveness, and much prayer are called for at this time.

God bless,
Aunt Dara

Monday, October 31, 2016

Dealing with Differing Opinions

Dear Aunt Dara,

I feel like I'm in a very difficult situation.  My father is senior pastor at a small, non-denominational restorationist church that's very conservative but not as much as other churches.  I do agree with conservatives on some things (I'm pro-life on abortion and euthanasia and believe premarital sex is wrong), but I agree with progressives on other things (I'm pro-gun control to some extent, am pro-environment, and consider myself both a feminist and an egalitarian).  Even though I love many of the regular attendees and especially working with the kids, I sometimes feel like I want to be in a different environment.  I have a disability and my parents have guardianship of me.  I live with them and I don't have a car or access to public transportation, so I can't go to a different church.  Plus, it would look bad for me to go to a different church because my father is the preacher.  Even if I did leave I might not be able to find a church that agrees with both what I side with conservatives on and what I side with progressives on.  I'm afraid to talk to my parents about how I feel out of fear of them criticizing me or my beliefs.  Any advice?


Preacher’s daughter

Dear Preacher’s Daughter,

What exactly are the reasons that you feel as if you need to be in a different environment?  Are you thinking that it is difficult to be in a church where other members do not see eye-to-eye with you on some issues, or is there perhaps some other reason?  If you are thinking that you would like to be in a church where the members are more in line with your political beliefs, you could be searching for a lifetime and never find that.  Even married couples rarely see eye-to-eye on everything.  Generally, congregations are made up of people with varying political beliefs and differing opinions on political issues.  The church is not meant to be a place of uniformity on all issues, but a place of unity on the essential elements of the gospel.  You may have heard the saying, "Speak where the Bible speaks and be silent where the Bible is silent."  The Bible is very specific on things such as the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ and what one must do in order be saved.  However, the Bible is silent on such things as the environment, gun control, and how the national economy should be managed.  You may have also heard the saying, "In essentials, unity.  In non-essentials, liberty.  In all things, love."  "In essentials, unity" means that Christians need to be unified on things that are clearly revealed in scripture, especially on essential matters such as Christ's deity, crucifixion, and resurrection, the plan of salvation, the elements of worship, and the importance of avoiding sin.  "In non-essentials, liberty" means that Christians have liberty in their opinion about things that the Bible doesn't mention or doesn't make clear.  "In all things, love" means that we are human and we will have differences of opinions and beliefs (see Romans 14 and 1 Corinthians 8), but we are unified by our love for God and for one another (Luke 10:25-28, 1 John 4:11). 

Since your parents have guardianship of you and you are dependent on them for your housing and transportation, how would it be practical for you to change your environment?  Would it not be better to accept the people in your church who have differing beliefs on political issues, while loving them as your brothers and sisters in Christ?  For additional guidance on this, please read 1 Timothy 1:4, 1 Timothy 6:3-5, 2 Timothy 2:23-26, Titus 3:9, and 1 Peter 3:8-11.

God bless,
Aunt Dara

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Will She be Able to Attract an Honorable Man?

Dear Aunt Dara,

I recently ended a 6-month, long distance courtship.  My boyfriend Jerry had known me for about a year before we met face-to-face.  He was a police officer and gave me legal advice when I had a stalker at school, and this enabled me to get help.  Afterward, he had been pretty protective of me.  At first he was wonderful, but when he got relaxed he began to show his veiled personality.  I ended the courtship because he was not choosing me over certain activities the family dropped on him 24 hours beforehand, so I felt as if I were taking second place against a family of 16 people.  Additionally, he started to become dismissive and never took me seriously.  I am hurt.  This was my first relationship and it lasted six months.  It ended as peacefully as it could, but left me hysterical for a while.  Mom said I shouldn’t talk to him at all, and she said he isn’t welcome at our home.  I still respect him.  I do not hate him nor dislike him.  I want to be with Jerry, but mom says that would be inappropriate.  However, I am scared nobody is ever going to look at me the same way.  Jerry was a first, but I am afraid guys will not like me the same way Jerry did.  I may have hugged Jerry, or rested my head on his shoulder during a movie, but we were never intimate physically.  I’ve never kissed a guy either.  The guys who came around before Jerry were too subtle on their intentions, and consequently they moved on because I remained oblivious.  Am I being unreasonable to think that I will be unnoticed by someone honorable?

Single Sophomore at 20

Dear Single Sophomore,

Since I do not know exactly what happened between you and Jerry that caused you to break up with him, I cannot say whether or not it would be appropriate for you to continue to be friends with him.  However, your mother must have very good reasons for not wanting you to talk to him and for him to not be welcome in your home.

As for whether or not other guys will look at you the same way Jerry did or whether or not you will be noticed by someone honorable, I can tell you that honorable men are attracted to women who love God, who have pure behaviors, and have the characteristics mentioned in Galatians 5:22-24 and 1 Peter 1:5-8.  An honorable man will be highly attracted to you if he recognizes your sincere love of God and sees these characteristics coupled with chaste behavior and good works.  So, I suggest that you concentrate in becoming attractive to God, and you will become attractive to the right type of man.

God bless,
Aunt Dara

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Waiting for God’s Timing

Part One 

Dear Aunt Dara,

I consider myself to be a fervent Christian.  I read my Bible and pray every day, and I try my best to do what's right, which is a hard thing to do for a 21-year-old in this day and age.  I have never been in a relationship with anyone, and it doesn’t help that some of my friends are in relationships.  I always pray for God to send me the right man, a Christian man who loves God, but it seems like the men who always like me are never Christians.  I'm reminded daily never to be in a relationship with someone who doesn't share the same beliefs as I do.  I am starting to feel confused, depressed, and extremely lonely!  Sometimes I think that maybe I will be single forever.  Am I doing something wrong?  What is it that I need to say or do for God to change my situation?

Sincerely,
Lonely Single
 

Dear Lonely Single, 

No, you are not doing anything wrong.  In fact, you are doing everything correctly.  You are praying and trusting God to send you a Christian man who loves God.  Please be assured that God hears and is answering your prayers.  He is preparing the right man for you at this time, and when the time is right God will bring him into your life.  I repeat:  when the time is right God will bring him into your life.  I know you feel lonely and sad because God hasn't brought him into your life yet.  Trust God's timing.  Wait on the Lord.

God bless,
Aunt Dara 

Part Two 

Dear Aunt Dara, 

A couple of months ago I spoke to you about being alone.  Well now I have been confiding in a young man who seemed to be interested in me.  He is 28 years old and I am 22.  I feel at times he can be a very good friend to talk to and he listens to me, but there are times when he becomes very sexual toward me.  I know some men do not know how to express themselves toward women they like, but I feel as if he just wants sex with no strings attached.  He told me that when we met I looked like I could be sweet in bed and I looked like a down-to-earth person.  I like talking to him but it seems every time we talk the conversation somehow turns toward sex.  I asked him bluntly what exactly is it that he wants, and he told me he doesn't really know.  I thought at his age he would have some knowledge about what it is he wants in life, especially from a woman.  I remember you told me that God is preparing a man for me and he will soon come.  I don’t know why every time I decided to move on with my life and be happy being single another man tries to come in making me think he is serious about me.  Even before I was talking to him, there was another man who had the same agenda, and it wasn't until a week after I broke up with him that I met the guy I’m with now.  I feel hopeless thinking that all men just want sex before commitment because he is not the only man to do this to me. 

Sincerely,
Lonely Single 

Dear Lonely Single,

You must have misunderstood what I told you in my last response.  I did not tell you that the right man would soon be coming into your life.  I told you to trust God's timing and wait patiently on the Lord to bring the right man into your life when the time is right.  I don't know when that will be, and neither do you.  It may be next month, next year, or five years from now.  The point is, your loneliness makes you appear desperate for a man—any man—and therefore you become a magnet to the type of man who wants to use you for sex.  These men prey on lonely women who have a great need to find someone to love them.  In the beginning, these men will appear to be very supportive, loving, and charming until they have gained your trust, and then they will take advantage of you.  Unfortunately, it appears that the new man you have become involved with may be the type of man who wants you for sex.  How do I know?  Because that is what he has been talking about.

I would like to repeat what I said to you before:   

God is preparing the right man for you at this time, and when the time is right God will bring him into your life.  I repeat: when the time is right God will bring him into your life.  I know you feel lonely and sad because God hasn't brought him into your life yet.  Trust God's timing.  Wait on the Lord.  

Do not go out looking for someone to love you.  That's God's job.  When it's God's will, love will find you.  Stop looking for a man to love you and start loving God.  Let God fill your lonely heart, then you will become the type of woman who will be a magnet to a man who loves and obeys God.

God bless,
Aunt Dara