Question:

I am a Christian, baptized when I was 16 years old. I used to live with my parents and I never used to eat anything offered to idols or entered temples. Four years later I thought food won't hurt us nor would going to temples hurt our faith in God. The only thing I strongly believed was God can't tolerate sinful acts and bowing to any idol or serving them.

At the age of 22 I was attracted to a guy I knew in tenth grade. Though I tied Rakhi to him I did not consider it as brotherly relation and treated our friendship as love relationship. (Rakhi is a Hindu ritual to symbolize a "knot of protection" between a boy and girl who see each other as bother and sister.) He had bad habits, which I came to know slowly but never questioned him about. He even had other girlfriends with whom he considered love relations with them. I cried every day knowing this but did not break up with him, thinking I should not doubt him. I stayed one night with him, with a promise that he will stop smoking cigarrettes. Though I did not want to stay, I stayed, convincing myself. That was the sin I did. Later I used to feel guilty but never expressed it to anyone. I believed only one thing: if we believe, we should not doubt, and should not break up. After few days I quarrelled with him when I saw some bad pictures of women on his phone. I did not speak to him for several days. Later I found out that he died by committing suicide. I did not know what to do. I felt like ending my life. I tried but it did not work. Later I came to know other girls who were spoiled due to him. I hated myself for my immature thoughts. I decided to be all alone until I die.

Two years after his death, one of my classmates tried to encourage me when I said I didn't want to marry anyone. I shared everything that happened in my life with him. I felt lighter after sharing everything. Though he could not digest everything I told him, he never made me feel guilty. He said he wanted to marry me. I turned him down, saying it was not possible. For four months he waited and tried to draw my attention. I eventually agreed to the proposal on the condition that he had to be baptized for marriage's sake. He agreed to that. Many warned me to not to agree, saying that I'll go to hell if I marry an unbeliever. I already committed to him, so I could not step back. I rejected their warnings. At home, I only said that he wanted to marry me. My parents did not agree until today to the marriage.

He is willing to convert so the marriage can take place in the church, but he wants me to marry him a second time in a Hindu wedding. After the wedding he will not force me but will manage to not to involve me in their religious activities. I trust him. My worry about the present situation is my elder siblings are not yet married and our parents health is not good. They want the marriage immediately or for us to break up.

I am frightened that God will reject me if I bow before their idol in the wedding, though I won't be involved. This is making me worried. Please suggest something to me. His parents are prepared to come next week and talk about our engagement. I don't want to get married without my sisters and their being involved in the Hindu wedding after the Christian wedding. What do I do? Please pray for his whole hearted conversion with trust in Jesus alone. I don't know where I'll be after my death but my parents would not agree or accept me and even God may not.

He is waiting for my decision. Whatever I did until now and what I am still doing sinful. If we breakup i can't marry anyone else because I'm 28 years old. My parents are treating this as blackmail when I said I'll not marry anyone except him. But I don't know if it is right in God's sight to take part in a Hindu wedding. Please I don't want to lose this person, but at the same time I am afraid of God's punishment after death.


Answer:

The problem is that you haven't been fully devoted to following God. You've made compromises several times with your faith. You accept Hindu beliefs so long as you consider them minor. You compromised your principles by staying the night with a boy -- and I assume you had sex with him -- because you told yourself you were doing "good" by getting him to quit smoking. "And why not say (as we are slanderously reported and as some claim that we say), "Let us do evil that good may come"? Their condemnation is just" (Romans 3:8). Now you are again compromising because you think that if your finace gets baptized, then this will be acceptable to God. Again, you are trying to force "good" on someone else.

If I understand correctly, your fiance plans to be baptized, but he will continue to be a Hindu. This isn't unusual. Hinduism believes in multiple gods, so they are willing to follow customs for a particular god. The problem is that his baptism would be worthless because it won't be based on belief in the Scriptures, which teach that there is only one God. He is willing to allow you to practice your religion, but what about your children? What religion will they be raised in?

If you want to marry this man, it will be a struggle to maintain your faith. While marrying a non-believer is discouraged, it isn't sinful. The Bible talks about how to handle situations when a Christian is married to a non-believer (I Corinthians 7:12-15; I Peter 3:1-2).

But at the same time, you have to quit the compromising of your faith. Tell your future husband, that you cannot participate in any ceremony that involves the Hindu gods because it violates your faith. If a civil ceremony is acceptable to him, then that will be fine. While you want him to become a Christian, it has to be because he believes in Christ and wants to follow Christ. In other words, instead of the two of you pretending the other person is someone different just to be acceptable to each of your societies, be yourselves.

Thank you very much for the reply.

He does not agree with a civil marriage as he can't hurt his parents' faith. He has kept them waiting for more than two years because of waiting for my elder sister's marriage and given them hope for a wedding in the Hindu custom. But now my sister's marriage is not certain.

I am not able to decide. He is becoming more against me when I say it would be difficult for me to act only because of idol. It hurts his faith and he says it is better to break up if I can't compromise for the marriage's sake. After the marriage he won't force me to be involved and I believe him.

He told me last January that if we have to marry in a civil wedding, it had to done immediately as he couldn't keep his parents waiting and increase their hope. I told my family aboutt our relation in February. My parents did not agree until recently. I'm frightened to go against my parents, so I delayed with the hope of my sister's marriage being settled but it has not yet been settled.

I am really in a very bad situation. These days I am frightned to read Bible. Everything is pointing to me and seems to be warning me about hell and that God will forsake me. Though I fear, I feel that whatever I did until now is wrong and if I step back it would be cheating him. I would be hurting my parents in the future too, as I don't want marriage in my life.

I really don't want him to convert for marriage's sake, only for my parents' sake, as marriage can't be made in our church without baptism. They wanted him to convert. Honestly, I don't want the marriage to happen in the church. I was asking for a civil marriage. My father is involved in church activities as a member. He has struggled to accept my choosing a non-believer. As you said, our marriage won't be acceptable in God's sight, even if he converts. It seems all doors are closed to me. Either i have to marry him anyway or cheat him.

You are in a situation of your own making due to the fact that you believe that appearances count more than honesty. For example, you keep talking about your boyfriend converting, but he has no plans to change. He is willing to go through a ritual that holds no meaning to him in order to marry you, but he plans to remain a Hindu. Your parents want you to marry a Christian, so you and your boyfriend are willing to stage a false "conversion" to appease them. He too wants you to go through the Hindu ceremonies so that his parents can believe that you accept Hinduism.

You even lie to yourself when you say you have no choice. You do. If you want to marry this man, then do so with the civil ceremony that allows you both to be honest with your beliefs. Neither of your parents will be happy about the situation, but that is because your choice of mates are ones neither like. Yes, your lives will be harder because of your choices. You are going to have all sorts of problems in raising your children, but if you want those hardships, they are your choice.

But you can say it will be a civil marriage, and then allow him to choose to accept it or not. And if not, you have not broken your word because a marriage is an agreement between two people. If he cannot accept marrying a Christian in all aspects, then that tells you a lot about him.

Of course, what I would really like to see is both of you become real Christians in truth and not just in claims. I suspect that if this marriage doesn't happen, it might be better for you in the long run, but I can't make your choices.