Dear Diane Dew
Got a problem? Need some advice? I'm here to help.
None of us has all the answers, but we know Someone who does!
A Personal Advice* Column
Featuring actual questions from recent emails.
Where is the compassion for the mentally ill?
I have read your testimony. It is powerful - and so eloquent. I wish my life could be that easy. Yes, you know pain and heartache, loneliness -- but He chose to deliver you from your afflictions. As for me ... I lost 6 babies, my first husband was murdered, one of my living sons was sexually and physically abused, my mother sexually abused me (and yes, I am female) and on and on ....none of these things are attributed to my depression. Yet, I still have a mind that does not function properly.... Mental illness is a physical ailment, and nothing can convince me otherwise. There is no greater pain on this earth.... and I pray for the day when others that are so quick to accuse and despise us may see the real pain. When will the world understand? Where is the compassion? I pray that some day you might see -- but I pray that you will never really know this pain. NoGtrLuv@aol.com
As for the difficulties you have faced in this life, my heart goes out to you. Remember, the troubles of this life are only temporary and in comparison to "the glory that shall be revealed within us," well worth it. Difficulties shape our character, change our attitude, and make us more compassionate toward the feelings of others. Paul says it's by "the comfort with which we are comforted of God" that we can "comfort others." (Corin.)
As for classifying depression as a physical ailment (which it often is), even that doesn't put it outside the realm of God's ability or willingness to deliver/heal. Jesus died for our physical and emotional healing, as well as the healing of our spirit (salvation), Isaiah 53 indicates. Remember the story Jesus told, of the guy going around naked and hanging out in the cemetery? After Jesus healed him, he was found "in his right mind," it says -- and those in the area marveled. (More on this can be found at www.dianedew.com/healing.htm) Jesus is "the same yesterday, today and forever," Hebrews says. "I am the Lord, I change not." (Malachi 3:6) What he does for one, He can do for all, if we believe.
I, too, have known difficulties. I lost my only brother to a horrible accident, just weeks after his conversion from atheism, thank God! Our family also suffered from sexual, physical and emotional abuse. And when I married, my ex was also violent. We lived in below-zero temperatures, with no running water, and our newborn baby (my only child) developed double pneumonia, almost died. I left with the baby and my life. After many years of single-parenting, I learned he had an advanced stage of lymphoma (cancer), that he might not live two days. The tumor surrounding his heart and squeezing his windpipe was bigger than a football! I prayed & prayed ... and the Lord God heard my cry. After 8 months chemo, 3 surgeries, & 2 months radiation, he is still with me today. And now I'm told I have cancer.
I never enjoyed the love of a husband; our marriage was violent from the start. He began beating me soon after the wedding -- which continued even after I got pregnant. He wasted the rent money on drinking and drugs, which got us evicted; wrote bad checks; didn't hold a job (still doesn't).... Much as I hated the idea of being divorced, when I learned the "other woman" was expecting his second child -- while he was married to me -- I realized it was over.
The truth is, we all face difficulties in this life. God knows what we can handle, and the bible says He won't allows trials more difficult than we can handle, but will give us the strength to endure them. Someone else's problems may look easier, but the yoke for the burden is shaped for each individual ox. The important thing is to remember what Paul said: to rejoice in adversity, affliction, persecution. That's where the victory lies.
Is divorce ever justified?
My wife left me and would not come back. I did divorce her as she would not come back and refused to file herself. I want to consider getting married again. But the Bible says if I do I will be committing adultery against my ex-wife. I have met a nice Christian lady who wants to get married and have children, but I have not dated her because I am afraid about what Jesus said about it. God considers us still as one. From what I understand from reading the Bible the only way I could be married again is to reconcile with my ex-wife. I have read all the scriptures on divorce. Have I missed something or should I just stay single the rest of my life? RobFlan2@aol.com
Scripture says if the unbelieving depart, let him (her) depart; a brother or sister is not under bondage (bonds of marriage) in such a case. When she left and refused to return, she abandoned you.
The word "divorce" literally means "to separate from" -- she separated from you, by leaving -- so even though she didn't get the piece of paper, she divorced you. You just made what she did "legal" (with the piece of paper, like Moses said to do).
You are free to marry. Divorce is not the unforgivable sin. Scripture only says there's one unforgivable sin, and it's not divorce but blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. Don't let the enemy rob you of the blessing of God in your life.
Personally (and this is just my opinion), I also believe a similar situation exists when a man is so abusive to his wife that he forces her to leave. "...as much as lieth within you, strive to live peaceably with all men," Scripture says. The implication is that there are limitations (as much as lieth within you"). This scripture also clearly shows that we must "strive" for peace. But when one knows before God that he has made every effort possible, I believe he is free to leave. The same God who forgives the wayward, the prostitute, is merciful to the beaten wife who simply desires to live in peace and raise her children in a home free of fear and abuse.
There will be legalists who, like the Sabbath-enforcers of Jesus' day, attempt to impose condemnation on the innocent party, for the sake of the "law." However, Jesus is Lord of the Sabbath, and mercy triumphs over judgment. Just as David's men were allowed to eat the shewbread in their time of need, though that was "legally" forbidden, there are exceptions (like helping your ox out of the ditch on the Sabbath, etc.). --Diane Dew
The question of divorce
One of your bible study topics states that "The scriptures also consider remarriage after divorce to be adultery. Matthew 5:32; 19:9" However, when I was at the Bible Q&A section on "Is divorce ever justified" www.dianedew.com/divorce.htm [where exceptions for divorce are noted], I cannot connect between the two. Could you please explain to me? email@example.com
Scripture offers numerous examples of exceptions to "the law." The bible says it's wrong to murder; yet God justified (even commanded) the destruction of evil persons, through war, at times. Similarly, the law stated it was wrong to work on the Sabbath; yet Jesus taught that there's a higher law -- and that helping an animal out of a ditch, for example, though "work," was okay. In other words, if your life (or your children's) is endangered by staying with a spouse, it's ok to leave, I would say. (As Paul said, "I think I have the mind of Christ" on this. I'm not attempting to establish doctrine, but interpret the spirit of the law.) I could give lots of other examples.
When Herod was seeking to kill all the children under two years of age, God appeared to Joseph in a dream & told him to take the mother & child and FLEE! He did NOT tell him to "submit" and let the baby Jesus be killed.
I knew one lady years ago whose husband enjoyed practicing his knife-throwing skills with her against the wall -- to terrify her. (He was possessed, on drugs, a homosexual, threatened her life repeatedly, & had been in and out of jail many times.) Would YOU stay with someone like that? Would you tell YOUR CHILD or sister to stay with someone like that? Would GOD require that of one of his children? Of course not.
Legalism is deadly. Faith is one thing; presumption is quite another.
The Right to Kill?
' ... I am against abortion and I think it is wrong. But if a woman chooses
to defy the Lord and the scriptures and have an abortion
then she should have that right. I don't believe that any state, federal government
or organization should force her to do something she does not want.'
John L. Branham Jr., firstname.lastname@example.org
The government makes us all do lots of things we "don't like." For example, school attendance is compulsory, whether children "like" it or not. Adults are required to pay taxes; employers are forced to pay their workers; absent parents are required to provide child support, etc. Government has the authority to execute murderers & do all kinds of things lawbreakers "don't like." But there's a higher Law than the law of the land: the law of God. When the the laws of man contradict the laws of God, "We must obey God rather than man." (Acts 5:29) All authority has been given to Jesus. (Mat 28) Government only has authority that God allows. (Rom. 15)
Killing Jews was legal in Hitler's day, but that didn't make it right. Slavery was legal in its day, but it was still wrong. Likewise, even though killing unborn babies has been legalized, it is still murder. Scripture is clear. "I am the Lord; I change not." (Mal 3:6) God's Word says he has written his laws on our heart, & we must obey our conscience. Of course, if our conscience is "seared" (insensitive to the ways of God), it is not dependable. That's why we need the Bible, our measuring line for truth. For more on what Scripture says about this topic, read Abortion: What saith the Scriptures. -- Diane Dew
Woman's Place in the Home
Is it okay for a woman to consider herself the priestess of the home
when the man is not doing his duty?
Most people take an extreme position on this issue, one way or the other. However, many issues in Scripture are not a matter of legalism or extremism, but a matter of principle. I will explain.
First of all, God has called us all to be kings and priests, Scripture says. And Paul says, "There is ... neither male nor female in Christ Jesus ..." While Scripture does instruct wives to submit to their husbands, it also exhorts all believers to be: "Submitting yourselves one to another ..."
While the position of Deborah in Scripture was certainly one of leadership, hers was definitely the exception. The leaders of the twelve tribes of Israel were all men. All of the original disciples/ apostles were men. And even though Paul describes the custom of his day as requiring women to have a less prominent position in the church, there were exceptions: Priscilla and Aquila, for example. In fact, each time that married couple, in the teaching ministry together, is mentioned in Scripture, the woman's name comes first.
Missing in your question are many specifics. Of primary consideration is the attitude of the woman's heart (i.e., is she in rebellion and anger because of the man's failure to "take charge"?) Additionally, one must consider: What does the man think of the woman taking charge of the household? (Some men prefer sharing the responsibility, or delegating it to the woman, often because his career commitments are overwhelming.)
If the man is so negligent in his responsibilities to the home that his family suffers danger or severe hardship, in all good conscience the woman should feel free to humbly make up the difference, after much prayer, and probably even fasting. Again, the attitude is essential.
In all matters of judgment, however, we must remember that advice applicable to one instance does not necessarily apply to all similar situations. God deals with each of us individually, as we are all individuals. His principles do not waver, but our response to his workings in our lives do vary, from day to day, depending, again on the attitude of our heart. -- Diane Dew
I just finished reading your web page on "condoms safe sex theory full of holes!!! well i think i'm ready for sex but i'm only 15! i know it may sound ridiculous but i think i'm ready!! Anyways then i read your page and now i'm really worried! so what you were saying if i used a latex condom i have a good chance of getting pregnant????? i was just curious becasue in sex ed they never taught us actually about sex! like they didn't tell us what its like if it will hurt, are you ready when your 15 and so on! so if you have the time was wondering if you could email me some facts about sex and if there is really a safest way to have sex!!!! thank you! Bettina, a really concerned student!
Dear Bettina, To answer your question.... The only really "safe" way to have sex is to have it with the same person only, for all your life, and for that person to be involved sexually only with you also. It's God's way, and it's the only "safe" way.
There's more to sex than physical arousal. Scripture says we are the temple of God (God lives in us) if we are Christian -- and therefore we are not supposed to "indulge" in the flesh sexually till after marriage.
There's also more to "safe" sex than avoiding pregnancy or disease. There's the psychological and spiritual aspect of joining your body to another person's -- there's a bonding that takes place, which is with us for the rest of our lives.
Another page on my web site that you might find helpful is the study on what the Bible says about sex. It's at this page: www.dianedew.com/adulforn.htm
I hope this has answered your question(s). If I can be of any further help, write me again.
You have your whole life ahead of you. God has a plan for your life. Many people make things difficult for themselves by poor choices (having sex with someone they aren't married to) -- and then look back with many regrets. Sometimes one selfish decision made in a moment of pleasure affects not just the person making that choice. One wrong decision can affect an entire household -- a "unwanted marriage," or an innocent baby born out of wedlock, for example.
Remember what it says in the Bible: that there is "pleasure in sin -- for a season." Keep eternity in mind, and your choices will be easier for you to live with -- and you will have a clear conscience before God. You won't have to feel guilty every time you hear a sermon on sin.
I pray you will make the right choice. And there IS a "right" choice -- it's the choice of RIGHTeousness, the way of God.
* LEGAL DISCLAIMER:
This is a personal advice column, based on the teachings of Scripture, in the light of personal experience. While recommendations may be suggested here, no assumptions should be made regarding any reference to legal matters (see an attorney), psychological problems (see your pastor/psychologist), financial difficulties (talk to your accountant); etc.
At best, anyone can only point you to the Scripture, your pastor, or the Lord -- all of which , in turn, can only point you to Jesus. The Holy Spirit is our primary Counselor, and God can reveal his will to you if you have surrender your will to him.
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