Integrating Compassion with the Wisdom of God’s Word


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.

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? 

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