Question:

Hello Mr. Hamilton,

I send cards for different reasons to church family members as well as loved ones all year long. About 90% of my card collection contain Scriptures and faith-based messages. But the one kind that tugs at my heart is “Happy Anniversary,” for couples I care about outside the church, including family who I know have a non-scriptural marriage.

This scenario has somehow hit me hard lately. Trying not to judge and wishing them happiness was always my intention, but I feel differently now. How can I truly wish these things if in my heart I know that their marriage isn’t condoned in God’s eyes?

I know this is a trivial question compared to an enormous mountain of emails you receive. I really should ask my dear Shepherds I suppose, (I’m single) but I just wanted your thoughts as well.

I’ve been visiting your site for about ten years and I am amazed by your commitment, knowledge, and the truthful information you provide in responses. I’m sure you’ve been a beacon of blessings to more people than you can imagine.

Thank you for your time.

Answer:

After listing out the numerous sins in the Gentile society, Paul stated, "and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them" (Romans 1:32). The simple problem is that showing approval for sinful actions is condoning sin. Thus, I don't send a card congratulating a thief on his recent successful heist, I don't attend the weddings of homosexual couples, nor can I sit and listen to a person bad mouth his friend.

It is sad when people you know, who already are not listening to God add additional sins to their lives. I might have to deal with people in my day-to-day life whom I know are not living righteously, but I don't have to indicate that what they have done is acceptable to me.

The fact is that when someone leaves his spouse to marry another person the couple is living in adultery (Luke 16:18; Romans 7:2-3). The unscriptural marriage is the cause of the sin, but the sin is adultery. To send a "Happy Anniversary" card to a couple in an adulterous relation is to indicate that you see nothing wrong with what they have done.

Society is decaying and sin is spreading because people are too timid to take stands against sin. Even when we do stand against sin, sin will still be there, but at least we won't be encouraging its spread.

Response:

Jeffrey,

Thank you for responding so quickly. I see that my heart and mind really did land onto the same page as that little “tap” on my shoulder.

May you and your family have a wonderful and safe week.

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