Question:

I tried searching for advice, and I found this. I have a lot of stuff going on in my life right now. My parents are separated. My dad, who was a preacher, no longer really believes in God. My brother has fell back into the world. My mom wants to go to a different church because she doesn't like what's happening where we are going. There's a lot of stuff going on in the ministry and she wants to leave. She doesn't feel she can grow anymore where we are, but I feel I will. I'm finally singing in choir. leading music, and I'm in the Sunday school classrooms. I absolutely don't want to leave. I try to tell my mom respectfully that I don't want to leave. I've prayed about it and God told me He's not done with me where I'm at. I'm getting a car and I can drive myself, but she keeps getting mad at me. I have no idea what to do.

This doesn't seem like such a big problem, but this is on top of so many other things that are just depressing. I don't know what to do. Any advice?

One last thing. I don't know what to do about my dad. I've been getting bitter, and I don't want anything to do with him. He's terrible to my mom, but she keeps going back to him. He doesn't pay any attention to my brother, who because of him, is too scared to talk to anyone. He's doing drugs and having parties. While he's doing all that he's expecting to come back home. I'm so angry with him. I don't want him in my life and that is kind of sad.


Answer:

I would like you to consider: Is the purpose of attending a church to worship God in a way that is pleasing to Him or is to find a worship that is pleasing to yourself? I hope that you chose pleasing God is the most important thing. After all the foremost commandment is: "'And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.' This is the first commandment" (Mark 12:30).

With that purpose in mind, then the selecting a church to attend has nothing to do with your mother's preferences or your own. The criteria should always be: Which church is doing as God directs? For example, I'm glad you are active, but there is no mention of choirs in the New Testament (See: Choirs and Solos), nor did God allow women to lead a congregation in worship. "Let your women keep silent in the churches, for they are not permitted to speak; but they are to be submissive, as the law also says. And if they want to learn something, let them ask their own husbands at home; for it is shameful for women to speak in church. Or did the word of God come originally from you? Or was it you only that it reached? If anyone thinks himself to be a prophet or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things which I write to you are the commandments of the Lord" (I Corinthians 14:34-37).

One of the reasons I suspect you and your mother are arguing is because your disagreement is really about opinions and both of you see your opinions as being just as valid and the other person's opinion. Since no higher authority (God) is being referenced, you are at a stand still. I would recommand that both of you try to take yourselves out of the equation and focus on worshiping God as He directs.

I'm sorry about your dad. The problem is that there isn't anything you or I can do to turn him around. I assume he is familiar with the Bible, but since he has rejected the source of faith there is nothing he would accept that can be offered to him. "So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God" (Romans 10:17). It doesn't mean that he might not turn around, but you and I can't make him turn. He has to make that decision on his own. "For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame" (Hebrews 6:4-6).

Your mother is probably hoping against hope that your dad will change. You'll have to let her work out her problems with her husband. It's hard when you see someone making mistakes, but offering advice to your parents when they didn't ask for your thoughts will not make the situation better. The best I can suggest is learn from their mistakes so that you don't repeat them in your own life.

Your brother is a different matter. He has you to talk to, and he is welcome to talk with me. I might be blunt, but I'm not scary.