Question: We're worried about our daughter-in-law because she's gotten very involved in a religious group that sounds like it might be a cult. Their leader insists on complete obedience, and says he alone knows the true path to God. Should we be concerned?
Answer: Yes, you should be concerned, because from what you say this group seems to have many of the characteristics of a cult. The Bible warns us against those who "lead my people astray with their reckless lies ... I did not send them or appoint them" (Jeremiah 23:32).
Cults usually insist that they, and they alone, know the truth about God. They deny that God has already revealed everything we need to know about Him in His Word, the Bible. They also deny that Jesus is the Son of God, sent from heaven to pay the penalty for our sins. They deny, as well, that by putting our faith and trust in Him we can be forgiven of our sins and given the gift of eternal life.
Cults also often have a leader who demands full obedience, and threatens members with condemnation if they doubt his teachings. They also may try to cut them off from their families, or anyone else who might try to draw them away.
But only Christ is worthy of our obedience and worship, for He alone is our Savior. Only Jesus could rightfully say, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me" (John 14:6).
Pray for your daughter-in-law, and do what you can to express your concerns to her (and your son). She may not be willing to listen right now, but someday she may realize she's on a dead-end road and become open to Jesus.
Q: I know I ought to pray and read my Bible, but how can I when I'm a single mom with a job and three kids to take care of? I feel guilty when I get busy and neglect God, but what can I do about it?
A: Being a single parent is surely one of life's hardest responsibilities — and I want to assure you that God knows the burdens you face. He also knows what you can and can't do — and He doesn't want you to feel guilty because you can't spend long hours praying or reading your Bible.
But He does want to reassure you of His love every day, and He also wants to guide you and encourage you. And this is why He has given you the privilege of prayer, and of the Bible. Don't think of them as burdens, therefore, but as gifts, given to you by God to bless you and help you.
The key is to realize that God is always with you, and you can turn to Him in prayer at any time — even while you're getting ready for work or driving your children to school. Find time too to turn to the Bible, even if it's only a few minutes at first. Job said, "I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my daily bread" (Job 23:12).
In addition, do all you can to point your children to Christ and His love for them. Thank God for your food when you sit down for a meal; get a children's Bible story book and read it when they get ready for bed; make sure church is part of your life. Most of all, ask God to help you be an example to them of Christ's love and joy.
BILLY GRAHAM is the founder of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Assn., headquartered in Charlotte, N.C.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun