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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, 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

Sunday, August 10, 2014

A Message to My Readers

According to my blog statistics, Aunt Dara’s Christian Advice Column has been read by multiple thousands of readers in over a hundred nations in every continent in the world except Antarctica.  I recognize that cultures differ and am aware that communication can be misinterpreted when cultures or religious denominations differ.  I must always keep this in mind when responding to letters.

I receive several letters each month.  Sometimes it may take a year or more before a letter and my response is published, and many letters are never published.  Usually I have multiple contact with the writers via e-mails before publishing their letters.  Often the letters that are published are condensed versions of the original or summaries of multiple communications with the writer.  My policy regarding publishing of letters and responses is contained in the Privacy Policy / Disclaimer which can be found at the bottom of each page on my website.  The Privacy Policy / Disclaimer has not been modified since this website was established on December 20, 2010.

When I receive a letter, I never send a response until after I have devoted time to pray about it—perhaps only a day or two, but in some instances I have prayed for up to two weeks.  My prayer is always to be sensitive to the needs of the writer and to convey to the writer the things that God would want them to know.  Sometimes I preface my response with an acknowledgment that what I have to say may be hard to hear.  However, it is never my intention to be insensitive or hurtful in anything that I say. 

My readers should always keep in mind that this is a Christian advice column that strives to answer questions from a biblical perspective.  The published information about me clearly states that I believe in traditional Christian values and morals, and I believe the Bible to be the inspired word of God.  Therefore, my replies may not be popular or politically correct, especially in certain cultures, and I realize that there will always be those who will disagree with some of my responses. 

That being said, I would like to address the person who wrote me a particularly scathing comment, and asking if this is for real or a satire blog.  I have taken your comments to heart.  Your message increased my awareness that just because I think that I am following God's leading in my replies, I still could be mistaken.  However, you were mistaken in your assumptions about the situation of the person who wrote to me.  This person is doing well and her situation has greatly improved since my initial contact with her.  I appreciate your comments, but your condemnation was not deserved.  I am not perfect.  I don’t know everything.  I make mistakes.  Sometimes I may even give inappropriate responses or bad advice, but my intention is to help and never to harm.  There will always be people who disagree with my responses, but before you criticize me so harshly, remember that you do not have all the information.

God bless,
Aunt Dara

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Is it Time to Give up on Love?


Dear Aunt Dara, 

I am 26 years old and I have never been in a relationship nor have I been on a real date or even been kissed.  Though I may not be the world's most beautiful woman, I am not ugly.  I have a good personality and many supportive friends and family.  I have many great qualities, and I thought being single wasn't such a bad thing.  All my life I have had great guy friends, but I have never been pursued by any.  On several occasions, these friends seemed to date everyone in my friend (and even family) circles, but never expressed an interest for me. 

I have had many sleepless nights and teary eyes trying to figure out my problem.  What is so wrong with me that no one could love me?  As I watch my siblings sustain their relationships and began to marry, I can feel the sting.  My parents and siblings tell me I am too picky and that my standards are too high, and that may be somewhat true.  I have never had a guy knocking at my door wanting to date me.  What is the problem?  What makes me so un-loveable?  At this point, is it time to give up on love? 

Single Gal

Dear Single Gal,

Please do not lower your standards just to get a boyfriend or husband.  You may get a boyfriend sooner by doing that, but not the one that God has intended for you.  A man who is worth having is one who is worth the wait.  Sometimes God brings the right man into our lives when we are very young, and sometimes He doesn't bring the right man into our lives until we are much older.  If you try to hurry things by lowering your standards, you will get a sub-standard man.  Is that the kind of man that you want to spend the rest of your life with?  Is that the kind of man that you want to be the father of your children?  Probably not.

Please do not blame yourself because God has not brought the right man into your life yet.  You are loved, very much, and God sees your tears.  Being loved by the right man has nothing to do with how pretty you are.  Every woman is precious and beautiful in the eyes of the man who loves her.  You are precious and beautiful in God's eyes, so let Him love you.  Then, if God wills, He will make you precious and beautiful in the eyes of the man who is right for you.

Don't rush it.  Don't compromise your standards.  Don't settle for a sub-standard man.   For more information, please refer to my posting on 8/16/2012 titled "Wondering when she will meet her Future Husband."

God bless,
Aunt Dara