A: God will not force you to believe in Him, nor will He force you to live in a way you don’t want to live. But He also won’t release you from the consequences of your decision to leave Him out of your life.
Let me explain. Right now you want to be completely free to do anything you want to do. But have you honestly faced the truth of your so-called freedom? You see, in reality you aren’t free; instead, you are ruled by your own lusts and desires. They have you in their grip — and no matter how hard you try, you can’t free yourself from them. The Bible puts it this way: “They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity — for a man is a slave to whatever has mastered him” (2 Peter 2:19).
Eventually your “freedom” will destroy you. It will ravish your body and mind — and most of all, it will cut you off from God. But God loves you, and He doesn’t want this to happen to you. He loves you so much that He came into the world in the person of His Son, Jesus Christ, and gave His life for you.
Don’t be deceived; Satan promises freedom — but in reality He only gives slavery. Instead give your life to Jesus Christ and discover what it means to be truly free — free from sin’s grip, and free from fear and your bondage to self. “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32).
Q: We’ve just discovered that my mother (who is in her late 80s) has been the victim of a scam that’s taken almost all her money. We’ve alerted the police, but why would anyone be mean enough to hurt someone like this? — A.J.
A: All crime is evil — but surely crimes against those who are helpless and vulnerable are among the worst. Only someone with no conscience could commit something like your mother experienced. The Bible labels as evil all those “who follow the corrupt desire of the sinful nature and despise authority. ... They are experts in greed — an accursed brood!” (2 Peter 2:10,14).
You’ve done the right thing by reporting this to the police. Even if they aren’t successful in recovering what these scam artists stole, your report will help them be on the lookout for similar crimes in your area. They also can notify agencies in your community that have contact with elderly people. They in turn can alert the media, encouraging people to be on guard against scam artists. Remember the old saying: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
In addition, if your mother is no longer able to take care of her finances, you will need to step in and help her. (An attorney specializing in elder law can assist you.) She may be reluctant at first — but this situation indicates you may need to be more active in her affairs. The Bible says, “Defend the cause of the weak” (Psalm 82:3).
Urge your mother to be more cautious in the future. Don’t condemn her, however, for what happened or keep bringing it up. Instead, pray for her and let her know you love her. Most of all, remind her of God’s love for her, and of the hope we have of eternal life because of Christ.
Send your queries to “My Answer,” c/o Billy Graham, Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, 1 Billy Graham Parkway, Charlotte, N.C., 28201; call 1-(877) 2-GRAHAM, or visit www.billygraham.org.