Issue: A family member has an addiction problem. They have been in recovery but have never had complete success. This family member lies in order to not be detected and is on the path to destruction, what should I do?
Insight: Addiction is always a difficult thing for a family to face. The problem with addiction is that recovery is a lifetime process. It is not instantaneous. A person in recovery cannot expect to be free from all temptation. It is how you handle these moments of temptation that reveals how well you are doing on the path to recovery.
As for what you can do; you can pray for them, you can encourage them to go back into recovery, you can place boundaries on their relationship with you and your family, and you can share your concerns with them. If these prove unsuccessful in changing the situation, I encourage you to seek counseling with a counselor who is familiar with addiction. It may help to have a fresh perspective and they may be able to give you new insight into the situation and give you some strategies to deal with your particular situation.
Issue: I have been divorced and I am in a new relationship. Christians are telling me that I am committing adultery and so is he, so does God expect me to be alone for the rest of my life because I made a mistake?
Insight: I believe that God hates divorce because it tears apart the very fabric of the family entity that God created. Divorce hurts not only both people in the marriage but also any children that were conceived. God hates to see His children in pain and this is why he hates divorce.
This is only half of the picture though. The other half of the picture is God is loving, forgiving and merciful. When we make mistakes He is faithful to forgive us. If you have asked God to forgive you, I believe it is forgiven and you have a new slate, however keep in mind the consequences of these issues still exist.
In your new relationship if your children do not like the person you have chosen it could cause strife between you and your children; or if their children do not like you it may cause problems there as well. The same goes for friends and families of either person. These are the consequences of the choices we make.
God provides forgiveness and freedom from sin but the consequences remain. I would advise that when Scripture gives several warnings considering a particular topic, weigh the consequences carefully.
Issue: I am homesick. I am away from home for the first time and I am miserable because of how much I miss home.
Insight: First of all, you need to make the most of life no matter where you are. When you start enjoying yourself you will find that when you think of home you will not be miserable but you will be happy you were able to talk to them. Once you allow yourself to feel negative feelings they tend to overwhelm you and you have a hard time enjoying even the time you have with your family in communication.
However, when you allow positive emotions to be prominent you will find that more of your experiences will result in positive emotions as well. You will still miss your family because you love them, it just will be easier for you to deal with when you are not overwhelmed with negative emotion as well.
Insight: I have actually had some recent experience in the department. There was a rift between myself and my parents, although they did not know it at the time. All throughout my life I had judged my parents quite harshly on how they raised me and these judgements caused me to become prideful, and resentful towards them.
One day as I was praying God revealed to me that they were doing they best they could at the time. Neither of them had pristine childhoods and who was I to judge them. I have no idea what it is like to grow up with an alcoholic for a father, or to have 5 children before I turned 25. These were things I had overlooked. I realized that I had made a lot of mistakes in my relationship with my parents and I had to make it right. I went to them and asked them to forgive me for judging them and harboring resentment towards them. Since that day the wall I had built between my parents and myself crumbled. I have been set free of the resentment and pride. It was like starting over again. The best part is... not only did it set me free, it also set my parents free. My dad has been changing more and more each day in a positive way and I am so excited to see how my relationship with both of my parents will continue to grow.
My suggestion for you is based on my experiences. Examine your relationship and see where you have gone wrong and the mistakes you have made. Then go and see that person and ask them to forgive you for the mistakes you made. Love them and pray for them. This is the best you can do for repairing the rift. Leave the rest in the other person's hands and see how God starts to move. God desires for us to be reconciled. 1 Corinthians 1:10 says "I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought."
Issue: I am the only Christian in my family. My husband and children do not even want to hear anything about God. It is so hard to be a Christian in this atmosphere. What should I do?
Insight: I know how difficult it is to watch a family member suffer and in a way this is the same. The freedom from sin and the guilt that goes with it is an amazing gift. Those who have not experienced this gift first hand I believe are definitely suffering. They are drowning in the guilt of their sin and it is hard to watch. It is almost like you are throwing them a life preserver but they respond by saying they don't want it because of the brand name. This is trying and difficult, however I will try my best to give you not only some hope but some ways to stay strong.
First of all I want to share some hope with you. In 1 Corinthians 7:12-14, Paul states "But to the rest I, not the Lord, say: If any brother has a wife who does not believe, and she is willing to live with him, let him not divorce her. And a woman who has a husband who does not believe, if he is willing to live with her, let her not divorce him. For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband; otherwise your children would be unclean, but now they are holy." Therefore the one encouraging thing is that your family is sanctified through you.
Secondly, continue to pray for them. Pray specifically that God would bring other Christians into their lives. Pray that the Lord would continue to show them his love in and through you. Pray that the Lord would use you to be a blessing to them and that God would protect you from the enemy while standing in the gap for your family.
Lastly, spend a lot of time alone with God, in prayer and studying the Bible. It is when we spend time alone with God that He can give us the strength to keep going even in the most difficult of circumstance. This time with God will not only strengthen you, but it will also give you a clearer picture of God's heart for your family and may even allow you to have the right words to speak at the time when your family would be ready to receive it.
I strive to help others by being a safe place for others to ask questions and pose issues they face.