Questions and Answers
We were blessed with an opportunity to have youth (averaging 10-14 years old) from several different churches/groups join us at GOF for a day of drug and alcohol prevention education, fun, and fellowship! These are some of the questions that were asked.
Q: Why do people spread rumors about what you’re going through?
If a person is the victim of rumors, then those whose who spread them are called talebearers/backbiters/false witnesses/liars. Reasons for spreading rumors:
It may be due to jealousy of something you have or who you are (even if you don’t value this in yourself). They may want they want to ruin your reputation to feel better about themselves.
It may be that they were given the wrong information initially and are just passing it along through a broken telephone.
It may be a lack of love towards you.
Some people like to gossip about “juicy” information, it is their “food” and what makes them feel good. People may not understand the damage that they can do by spreading rumors or they don’t care. They may also be under the influence of people who are against you.
It may be a misunderstanding on your part, perhaps someone is talking about you out of concern/love for you, and has only talked to one/certain people who care about you. If this is the case, you need to clarify.
How to deal with this situation:
The Bible says to deal with the situation in this way:
(Matthew 18:15-17 NLT) 15 “If another believer sins against you, go privately and point out the offense. If the other person listens and confesses it, you have won that person back. 16 But if you are unsuccessful, take one or two others with you and go back again, so that everything you say may be confirmed by two or three witnesses. 17 If the person still refuses to listen, take your case to the church. Then if he or she won’t accept the church’s decision, treat that person as a pagan or a corrupt tax collector.
Go privately & talk about the situation. Tell them how it makes you feel and that it causes you pain. Try to stick with only the facts otherwise they can use something you say against you again. (v.15)
If the person will listen, confess and ask you for forgiveness, then you need to forgive them and move on. If this rumor was spoken publicly (in front of a lot of people or via social media), this person needs to apologize publicly. Don’t get trapped in unforgiveness. You can’t always undo the damage of rumors, but ask them to spread the correct information if they hear someone talking about it.
If it doesn’t work, take one or two people with you so that you have witnesses (not just your friends, someone in authority). Don’t yell or argue, even if the person spreading rumors does. If they try to make you mad, try not to answer with anger or negative (bitter) emotion or you may ruin your credibility. The witnesses are there to observe the situation objectively (not with an opinion formed already) and then they need to spread the truth.
If that doesn’t work, talk to an elder at church. The same process can be applied if rumors are happening in another place (not church). Talk to someone who is in authority: leaders, parents, coaches, teachers, counselors etc. Discuss with them what you have already done to stop the rumors.
Don’t ignore the situation. If you convince this person, it may help them stop spreading rumors. If they refuse to accept their guilt (after you did what is written above), try not to be near this person. Know that your worth comes from God alone, you are loved. The truth will eventually be known.
Don’t take revenge, that’s God’s job. He is also watching you to see how you handle the situation.
Hebrews 10:30 New Living Translation (NLT)
30 For we know the One who said,
“I will take revenge.
I will pay them back.”
He also said,
“The Lord will judge His own people.”
Pray about it, pray for the other person. Jesus had many false witnesses rise up against Him and the truth, He understands how you feel. Ask Him for wisdom in order to deal with this situation. God has guidelines on dealing with evil people, and though it is not always easy to do, you will see blessings and results if you follow them. Some guidelines can be found: (Luke 6:27-49, Matthew 5-7). There are also other places in the Bible that speak about this topic.
Know what God thinks about those who spread rumors. God hates it and has many laws against it:
Proverbs 6:16-19 New Living Translation (NLT)
16 There are six things the Lord hates— no, seven things he detests: 17 haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that kill the innocent, 18 a heart that plots evil, feet that race to do wrong, 19 a false witness who pours out lies, a person who sows discord in a family.
If you struggle with unforgiveness, talk to and pray with a pastor. Don’t let unforgiveness and bitterness ruin your life.
We hope this answered your question. A lot of people deal with this issue, and we pray that you will come out victorious (come out with honor before God and people: not answering evil for evil, no matter what happens with this situation. God respects this). Remember that you have a right to say the truth. Do your best to help the person who is spreading rumors. God can make this situation work for your good (Romans 8:28) if you deal with it in an honorable way.
Q: A lot of people are drifting away from God and at our church a lot of people gossip including people in my family, like elders. What do we do to help fix that? My siblings are always arguing and it like makes me want to fix it but it’s hard to stay on the right track and not argue with them. How do we help our family get closer to God?
Regarding drifting away from God: If you read Matthew chapter 24, Jesus speaks of the last days. He states that the love of many will grow cold. People make a choice—they choose to live for God or for themselves. Drifting away usually starts with little, seemingly insignificant things, but we need to be faithful in the little things for God to trust us with bigger things.
In terms of the gossip and arguing, your frustration is understandable, but it is very important to not accuse or judge them but to pray for them instead. Often times, even with good intentions, when we judge people that are doing things we see as wrong/sin, we also fall into sin. There are many verses that speak about this (you can look up “judge” or “judging” in www.openbible.info/topics/
To help your family get on track, you need to realize that this is a spiritual war. You need to fight back correctly—don’t fight against the people (Ephesians 6) but against the spiritual forces of darkness. Do not underestimate the power of prayer. Trying to prove a point to an elder regarding gossip or with your siblings isn’t going to be effective because changing yourself is difficult, but changing someone else is impossible. Only God has the power to change your family. Pray for each person in your family to change and draw closer to God, to have the desire to seek God and to read the Word of God (pray for yourself as well, change is only by God’s strength not our own). Also that God would enlighten the eyes of the hearts of everyone in your family.
If you ‘stand in the gap’ the devil will try to attack you. He wants things to stay as they are, so that your family will not be a threat to him. Don’t let the enemy scare you or run you off. The war has already been won on calvary! Colossians 2:15 states “God stripped the spiritual rulers and powers of their authority. With the cross, He won the victory and showed the world that they were powerless.”
Ask God to help you stand firm and to give you the desire to seek Him and to support others in prayer. It may take time, but be patient, God is at work. James 5:16 states that, “The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.”
Q: Hello, first of all we had a great time at the rehab center, and second of all I had a question, my friend had a brother that does drugs and other bad stuff like that and it affects her family a lot. Me being her best friend, how do I help her? Their family is a Christian family but they are all suffering because of the mistake of one of her brothers.
Regarding your friend who has a brother that does drugs/other bad stuff, it is very true that his actions impact the family significantly. Some ideas of how you can help her are below.
1) Do not overlook the power of prayer. God is seeking people who will “stand in the gap” and pray for lost and hurting souls. Pray diligently for both her brother (to submit his life to God and become free from addiction and sin) and for the family (to make the right choices and to have God’s peace) during this difficult time.
2) Be a friend by listening when she wants to talk, and respecting her need for silence when she doesn’t want to share. Respect the family’s privacy by not telling others the information she shares with you, otherwise rumors/gossip could begin (even if you didn’t intend for it to happen).
3) Be a friend by giving her spiritual support. Help her to grow in God alongside you, this can be key to overcoming difficult times. Some ideas could be:
a) Doing a Bible marathon (reading a book/section of the Bible in one sitting)
b) Studying a portion of the Bible together in-depth
c) Praying together
d) Getting involved in your church, finding ministry opportunities (youth group, cell groups/Bible studies, prayers, Sunday School Ministry, and even folding chairs, etc)
4) Spend quality time with your friend so that she feels supported. She may sometimes feel that her brother gets more attention than she does and that she doesn’t matter.
5) Speak with your friend regarding tough love (below is a message that can be found at our website, gatesoffreedom.org:
The salvation of a loved one, someone who is struggling with addiction, may require serious (and time consuming) efforts. Unfortunately, sometimes even with our best intentions, our help may cause more harm to an addicted individual by feeding the person’s old habits. There may come a point when we need to seriously get involved in someone’s life in order to save them and their health from being utterly destroyed. Tough love may be needed. Loving a close person with tough love means being able to say “no” to manipulation. Tough love says, “We love you, but we refuse to take part in your sinful lifestyle. You have to take responsibility for your own actions.” The purpose of tough love is to help the loved one in the long run. When the addicted person realizes that they have gone too far, and there is no way out, then they begin seeking a permanent solution to their problems—not just seeking ways to get out of certain situations. Does it mean they should feel rejected or unloved by us? By no means! We should always be ready to help with open arms and provide them with resources, such as how to find freedom from addiction. Pray and seek God’s wisdom to know how and when to show tough love to your struggling loved ones.
6) Ask if she or her family has (and help them find) the resources to support the brother (for example: the numbers or locations of rehab centers etc.)
Q: How do you get yourself to hate a sin that you’re doing? I’m trying to stop doing this sin but I don’t know how. I like it and its kinda hard to hate something you like. Advice?
Thank you for your question. The answer to hating sin instead of loving it is in getting closer to God. It’s not a formula. You will read this several times below, but the key is to be honest with God and to do it by His strength not by your own efforts.
In order to stop loving a sin, we need to start loving God (and not just by our words, but by our actions. Jesus said love equals obedience in John 14:15). When your relationship with God deepens, you start to understand that sin is just a cheap distraction (but the price that you will pay is not cheap, and it definitely cost God a lot…the life of His Son)!
Practically, how can you stop loving sin?
1) Start everyday by praying that God helps you to hate the sin and to love Him, and to help you live by His strength and not your own.
a) Confess the sin(s) by name and ask God for forgiveness for not only committing them, but for not having a desire to stop.
b) Replace the time that you spent doing the sin with doing something that helps you improve your relationship with God—good spiritual food (listening to sermons/christian audiobooks, reading the Word of God so you will grow! [1 Peter 2:2], christian music, using your time to serve others etc). Other ideas include: doing a Bible marathon (reading a book/section of the Bible in one sitting), studying a portion of the Bible in-depth, praying with friends/family, getting involved in your church, finding ministry opportunities (youth group, cell groups/Bible studies, prayers, Sunday School Ministry, and even folding chairs, etc)
This is essential after confessing sin, similar to the example of not leaving a clean house empty or it will be worse off after the demon comes back with his friends (see Matt 12:43-45 or Luke 11:24-26).
c) Be honest with God. Some days you won’t feel like giving up your sin/lifestyle. Tell Him that, and ask Him for the desire to live for Him instead of living in sin (God can give you the desire even on days when you don’t have it, just be open and honest with Him—you can’t hide anything from God anyways, but God loves honesty).
2) Do your part by relying on God’s strength, being honest with Him, and replacing the sin with good things. You now need to break your habit/relationship with sin. Don’t give up!
a) Draw near to God & He will draw near to you. Read James chapter 4, it’s just a small sample of what the Bible speaks about what happens when we sin versus when we live for God. Look above at #1, b for examples of how to draw near, don’t overlook prayer and the reading the Word, it is essential to this process.
b) Good news: God always gives a way out. If you honestly seek Him and ask Him for His help, He will give it. Seize…chase after these opportunities of escaping temptation that He gives.
3) If you do these things and don’t give up, it will get easier. James 4:7 says, “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” Sin will lose its appeal but you always need to rely on God’s strength for every day. If you start to think, “I can do it” that is relying on yourself and this pride will be your downfall.
Keep your heart open to God, there are many lessons He will teach you if you seek Him. Ask Him to reveal and open things up to you that you are curious about or don’t understand. God loves it when we seek Him and He will reveal Himself to us if we continually seek His face.
Your desire for sin will go away when He reveals His goodness to you and when you realize how terrible sin really is and how much it steals from you. This is a spiritual war. Your desire to hate sin is a spiritual desire, your desire to love sin is a desire of the flesh (this is in Romans 6-8). Give strength to your spirit by “feeding” it good things and don’t feed your flesh. (flesh does not mean body but your sinful desires, your “I can do it myself” attitude).
Keep your body busy and your mind occupied, and not only with spiritual things, but also physical things:
1) Some forms of sports (volleyball, ping pong, swimming, hiking, biking, etc)
2) Technical activities (fixing cars)
3) Learning foreign languages
4) Scientific experiments
5) Arts & crafts
6) Photography/videography—become a professional
7) Bible courses
8) Community service—volunteer
9) Learning to play an instrument
10) Creating a Christian fellowship/Bible study in school
11) Outdoor activities (instead of playing video games)
May God bless you and give you the strength to live victoriously in Christ! We will pray that you will hate the sin the more you draw closer to God! Please let us know if you have any further questions.
1) What if you’re forced to take drugs, drink alcohol, etc—and it’s not your fault. What happens then?
1) Get help from authorities (older family members or relatives, church leaders, and police if necessary). Everyone has the right to protection.
2) Seek God for protection, help and wisdom.
2) What if when you start doing right choices, people bully you so much that you go into depression (even though you know that God is with you)?
1) If the bullying is coming from friends, seek different friends (pray that God will give you Godly friends).
2) If the bullying is coming from elsewhere (school, home etc), contact the proper authorities (teachers/principal/relatives/church leaders).
3) Regarding depression: Seek help—find a trustworthy, Godly individual. Open your heart to God in prayer and seek Him daily. Renew your mind by reading God’s Word and by believing what it says. God will help you get out of depression; He has a greater purpose for your life.
4) Make goals and achieve them (see section below GET BUSY & FIND SOMETHING TO DO).
5) Make a list of prayer requests and things you’re thankful for and pray about them every day.
6) Journal as you read the Word, writing down the promises that God gives.
7) Consider reading: “Purpose Driven Life.”
3) What if your parents don’t care, and all they say is “just do whatever” (I don’t have siblings)?
1) Find a mentor in church (or if you can’t find someone to talk to, text/call GOF: 206-334-6645).
2) Get involved in church and seek God on a personal level.
3) Find a good church support group that would care for you.
4) You’re not the only one. There are many guys and girls who come from broken families and communities who are oppressed and depressed, but they have a meaning in Christ that is beyond this world.
4) How do you stop an addiction (to be specific, a porn addiction)?
1. Get in the Word, pray and seek God. Replace the sinful thoughts with Godly thoughts (Philippians 4:8). Keep your mind constantly occupied with the Word of God. Thinking “don’t do it” keeps the focus on the sin, and eventually you will succumb. Instead focus your thoughts on what pleases God. An unoccupied mind is the devil’s playfield. Depend on and ask God for His strength, don’t rely on your own.
2. GET BUSY & FIND SOMETHING TO DO, SUCH AS…
1. Some forms of sports (volleyball, ping pong, swimming, hiking, biking, etc)
2.Technical activities (fixing cars)
3. Learning foreign languages
4. Scientific experiments
5. Arts & crafts
6. Photography/videography—become a professional
7. Bible courses
8. Community service—volunteer
9. Learning to play an instrument
10. Creating a Christian club/Bible study in school
11. Creating a Christian page on Facebook to help your classmates learn about Christ
12. Hiking with Christian friends & doing a Bible study/prayer/worship at the top of the mountain
13. Outdoor activities (instead of playing video games)
3. You need accountability. Purchase and download the program “Covenant Eyes”—it’s a Christian based program to record your browsing history. You will need an accountability partner (an older, more mature, experienced Christian who cares about you to sign up with you). They will be sent a copy of your web browsing history. This is a step in the right direction and will help you to become accountable about where you go online.
4. Turn off your internet on your cellphone (or other easy-access methods).
5. Use your computer only in public places (ex: in the living room where your family is).
5) How do you financially support this rehab center?
The rehab center is a non-profit organization that is supported by generous donors.
6) What should I do if my friends do drugs?
1) These friends are a negative influence in your life and you need to stop hanging out with them. Seek and ask God for good friends. Encourage your friends, but don’t try to change them because peer pressure is very powerful and can cause you to change. They may manipulate you and use you for their purposes. These bad relationship can cause you to become addicted to drugs. Instead surround yourself with people that can invest in you.
2) Attend church, come to prayers, and seek God on a personal level.
3) Get involved in your church (youth group, cell groups/Bible studies, prayers, Sunday School Ministry, and even folding chairs, etc).
7) Why do drugs change how you look?
Chemistry: drugs physically destroy the organs and cell structures in your body. They cause your body to age rapidly. They also lower your immune system, which makes you more vulnerable to bacteria, viruses, etc.
8) Why does God let people get hooked?
People have free will. If you choose to sin, you are choosing to turn away from God and you will need to face the consequences (such as addiction).