I get very discouraged when I think about the future, and one reason is because young people today don’t seem at all interested in God or religion. What can we do to change that? Or is it hopeless? — Mrs. H.J.
No, it is not hopeless. One reason is because young people today are searching for meaning and purpose in their lives — and only Jesus Christ is the answer to their search. When they discover this, their lives are changed and they become deeply committed to Him.
Over the years, we have seen this repeatedly in our evangelistic missions. Recently, for example, my son Franklin held a major Festival (as he calls his evangelistic Crusades) in the country of Taiwan.
Almost 10,000 people responded to the invitation to commit their lives to Jesus Christ — and almost two-thirds of those were below the age of 25. The same is true almost everywhere we proclaim the Gospel.
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Young people today are confronted with all kinds of ideas and temptations, and it’s easy for them to be led astray. But this world can never meet the deepest yearnings of their hearts, nor can it promise them lasting hope for the future. But Christ can - because He alone has broken down the barriers between us and God, and He alone teaches us who we are and why we are here. The Bible says, “In him was life, and that life was the light of men” (John 1:4).
Pray for our youth, and pray especially for the young people you know. Then ask God to help you point them to Jesus, who alone is “the way and the truth and the life” (John 14:6).
The day after Mother died, one of my brothers went into her house and took her silver and fine china, leaving the rest of us with almost nothing. Later, he claimed Mother had said she wanted him to have them, although he had no proof. This was five years ago, and we’ve hardly spoken since. Why are people so greedy? — N.S.
Greed is very destructive — as our own society has discovered in recent months. It not only destroys relationships, but it also destroys our souls. The Bible takes the sin of greed very seriously - so seriously that it puts greed on the same level as immorality, and labels it as idolatry (see Colossians 3:5).
Why does greed take root in our hearts and minds? The reason is because we leave God out of our lives, and put ourselves and our desires ahead of everything else. A greedy person is only interested in himself, and cares little for others and their needs.
A greedy person also becomes consumed with things and with money; everything else fades into the background. No wonder Jesus warned, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed” (Luke 12:15).
What your brother did was thoughtless and insensitive — and also wrong. Even if your mother did say something to him about these things, he should have insisted she express it to the rest of you so there would be no misunderstanding later. Learn from this as you think about your own passing; have a will, and do all you can to avoid such conflicts.
In addition, ask God to help you forgive your brother. It may not change his attitude - but it will change yours, and keep you from being bound by the past.
I never knew my grandfather, but from what I hear he had no use for God, and lived a very immoral and selfish life. Someone told me that a person’s bad behavior could bring a curse from God on his descendants, so they can’t be saved. This terrifies me. Is it true? — M.McD.
No, it’s not true, and you shouldn’t let this erroneous thought take root in your mind. If it were true, no one could be saved — because every one of us has ancestors who didn’t honor God. The Bible says, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).
The Bible makes it clear that we each are responsible for our own actions. We aren’t guilty for what our ancestors did — and they aren’t guilty for the sins we commit.
The Bible says, “The soul who sins is the one who will die. The son will not share the guilt of the father, nor will the father share the guilt of the son” (Ezekiel 18:20).
The consequences of someone’s sin (such as abuse or laziness) may hurt others, even beyond their lifetime — but that isn’t the same thing as being held guilty for their sin.
The most important truth I can tell you is that God loves you, and Jesus Christ came to forgive you. If you had been the only person on earth who needed forgiveness, Christ still would have been willing to go to the cross and pay the penalty for your sins. God loves you that much!
What must you do? By faith turn to Christ today, confessing your sins and your need of forgiveness. Then ask Him to come into your life to forgive and save you — and He will.
Our mother (in her mid-80s) really shouldn’t be driving now, but we don’t know what to do. We know we ought to take her keys away but she’s always been a very independent person, and we don’t want to upset her. How should we handle this? — Mrs. R.R.
If it truly is dangerous for your mother to drive now, you need to act. If you don’t, her life could be in danger, and so could others.
However it won’t be easy; decisions at that age seldom are. Remember: Her car means far more to your mother than just the ability to get around. It gives her a sense of freedom and independence, and taking away her ability to drive means taking away that feeling. It has practical implications, as well — the need to rely on others to take her to the grocery store or the doctor, for example.
Probably the only way to handle this difficult decision is with both compassion and firmness. You need compassion, because this will be a major turning point in your mother’s life, and it will be hard for her to accept. How would you feel if you were in her position (as you may be someday)?
However, you also need firmness, explaining to her why the time has come for her to stop driving, and urging her to make the decision on her own.
The Bible says, “Clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience” (Colossians 3:12).
Go out of your way also to assure your mother of your love — and of God’s love for her, as well. God’s promise is true: “Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you” (Isaiah 46:4).
Send your queries to “My Answer,” c/o Billy Graham, Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, 1 Billy Graham Parkway, Charlotte, N.C., 28201.