Sacrifice for those you love

Published: Saturday, January 20, 2007 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, January 19, 2007 at 11:56 p.m.
Q:My boyfriend says he'll stop drinking if we get married, but my parents don't believe him and are strongly opposed to our relationship. I love him very much, but I promised my folks I'd write you to see what you would say.
A:If your boyfriend truly loved you, he'd be willing right now to sacrifice anything that got in the way of that love - including his drinking. This may not be the answer you hoped I'd give, but right now all you have from him is an empty promise - and one I seriously doubt he will keep. Almost every week, I get at least one letter from someone who was once in your situation, and went ahead and got married in spite of the advice of others. Almost without exception their life has been marked by unhappiness, broken promises, abuse and alcoholism.
Instead, I urge you to seek God's will for your life, including the person He has chosen for you to marry. God loves you and doesn't want you to become trapped in a relationship that holds little hope of peace and stability. As a first step, turn to Christ and commit your life to Him as your Savior and Lord. The psalmist's experience can become yours: "You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence" (Psalm 16:1).
Then challenge your boyfriend not just to stop drinking but also to give his life to Jesus Christ. He needs Christ's presence in his life, and he also needs Christ's power to deal with whatever problems he has that make him turn to alcohol. Don't be satisfied with anything less than God's best for your marriage.
  • n n Q:I feel so guilty because a friend of mine died from a drug overdose a few weeks ago and I know he might still be alive if I'd done more to help him. I did try, but I guess I should have done more. Will God ever forgive me?
    A:Sometimes we need God's forgiveness for things we did wrong, and sometimes we need His forgiveness for things we didn't do but should have done.
    And the good news of the Gospel is this: God is willing to forgive both kinds of sin. Don't hesitate to turn to Him and ask Him to forgive you for not doing more to help your friend. You can trust God's promise in His Word: "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9).
    How is this possible? It's possible for one reason: God sent His only Son into the world to become the final and complete sacrifice for our sins. We deserve to die for our sins, but Christ died in our place. Invite Him into your heart today. The Bible says, "To all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God" (John 1:12).
    At the same time, don't take upon yourself a burden you don't deserve. Yes, perhaps you could have done more for your friend - but he also was responsible for taking the path he did. Ask God to help you learn from this tragedy and to be more sensitive to those who are trapped by drugs or other destructive choices. Most of all, point them to Jesus, who alone can give them hope.
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