I’m going with someone who isn’t of my religion, and while we aren’t serious enough for it to be an issue right now, I know it could be in the future. Would it be a sin for me to marry a husband who isn’t of my faith? — A.L.
Let me ask you a question: How seriously do you take your religion? Is it mainly a tradition you inherited from your parents — something you haven’t thought about very much? Or is it perhaps just a casual belief that doesn’t really affect the way you live?
If so, my prayer is that you will stop and ask yourself what place God should have in your life. If He created you (and He did) . . . if He sent His only Son into the world to die for you (and He did) . . . if He loves you and wants you to spend eternity with Him in Heaven (and He does) — then don’t you think He deserves to become the center of your life? Yes, He certainly does.
Let me put it another way: The greatest sin anyone can ever commit is the sin of ignoring God — acting as if He doesn’t matter, or treating His will for our lives with contempt. This is the sin you should be worrying about above all else, for this is the sin that will cut you off from God forever.
But it doesn’t need to be this way! God loves you; He loves you with a love so deep that He was willing for His Son to die for you. The most important decision you’ll ever make is your decision for Christ — and I pray you will make that decision today.
Last week, my husband admitted he’s been unfaithful, and it’s really crushed me. He says it’s over and he wants to rebuild our marriage, but how can I possibly forgive him? — Mrs. V.N.
Few sins are as destructive and cruel as the one your husband has committed, and my heart goes out to you. It’s no wonder the Bible says that adultery is “bitter as gall. . . . Whoever does so destroys himself” (Proverbs 5:4; 6:32).
It may be hard for you to forgive your husband for what he did — but what if you don’t? Instead of forgiving him, what if you allow your hurt and bitterness to keep festering like an angry sore in your mind and heart? You know the answer: Your pain will only grow more intense, and your relationship will be poisoned. To put it another way, your home will become a battleground instead of a place of happiness and peace. Do you honestly want this? I doubt it, in spite of your present feelings.
The fact that your husband admitted his unfaithfulness suggests to me that he is genuinely sorry for what he’s done; otherwise he probably would have just kept quiet. Let his regret be the first step in healing your relationship.
Then ask God to help you forgive him for what he’s done. The key is to realize how God forgave us — not because we deserved it, but because in His grace He loved us and gave His Son for us. The Bible says, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32).
The Rev. Billy Graham, whose column appears in Faith & Values every Saturday, can be contacted at “My Answer,” c/o Billy Graham, Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, 1 Billy Graham Parkway, Charlotte, N.C., 28201 or www.billygraham.org.