Pastor Kevin Sanders

"He must increase, but I must decrease." -John 3:30

Category: ASK KUYA KEVIN (page 1 of 3)

Younger Boyfriend (Age Gaps and Relationships)

I’m sure some of you were unable to listen to last week’s radio show/podcast. We’re working on making it available on-demand over at The Edge. Anyway, here’s one of the questions that was asked:

Hi, Kuya! I have been so blessed by your ministry. I have been reading your blogs and found them extremely helpful.

I am a single woman in my early 30’s. I’ve always believed age doesn’t really matter in relationships. Right now I’m being courted by a significantly younger guy (he is over ten years younger than I). He is very mature for his age, but I’m still unsure about this relationship. Can you give me some advice?

First and foremost, I greatly appreciate your encouraging words and I’m thankful to have you as a reader.

I’ve written about age gaps before, but I think it may be helpful to specifically address this issue for women considering younger men.

The Scripture is basically silent on the issue—God has not given us a standard for acceptable age differences in a marriage relationship. Having said that, I think there are some practical issues you should consider here. As I always say, God expects us to use discernment and make wise decisions (see: The Two Commandments).

I want you to consider three factors in regards to this young suitor:

1. Maturity
2. Stability
3. Biology

1. Maturity: People need to be at compatible levels of maturity in order to get along. I won’t say “equal” levels, because no two people are at the exact same level.

It’s possible he is very mature for his age and this isn’t a problem. The age difference may come into play in your conversation: after all, he has grown up in a different decade. But with compatible maturity levels this may not be an issue.

2. Stability: This one is a bit tougher. A significantly younger suitor is less likely to be stable, especially in terms of his career and financial status. There could be exceptions here–maybe he’s already graduated and started his career. But this is one of the potential disadvantages to a younger boyfriend. I’m not saying you should look for someone who is rich. But younger men (especially those who are still studying) are less likely to be financially stable and able to provide you with the necessities of life.

3. Biology: Here’s where the younger boyfriend really tends to have disadvantages, especially if there is a significant age gap. You are at the age where you are ready to have children. This time window will not last forever (the so-called “biological clock”). I’m not sure if he’ll be ready to become a father in a timely manner.

I would encourage you to prayerfully consider all these factors. This young man may be the exception to the rule—he may be mature, stable and ready to start a family. My greatest concern is that you may waste valuable time on someone who is not ready for a lifetime commitment.

Kuya Kevin

Ask Kuya Kevin: Betrayed

Here’s an email I got from a young woman who thought she’d found a godly man:

Kuya Kevin,

I’ve had a boyfriend for one year and nine months. We were together all the time for the first year because he is my neighbor. He seemed to have a good attitude and good character, and he also seemed to be a God-centered person. He was the kind of guy I was looking for, even though we come from different religions. He regularly attended mass with me on Sundays.

He left to work on a ship after the first year of our relationship. He did not tell me immediately when he returned–other people told me he was back. He finally met me at home after he had been back for three days. I wondered what happened while he was off at see. One day I found a text message on his phone. It was from his ex girlfriend, and went something like this: “thanks for calling me, I enjoyed talking with you.” We argued about it and I walked out on him.

The next day we went on a date and talked about it again. He told me that he had to accompany his sister to the province. I was suspicious, and asked him to tell me if he has found someone else. He told me that he fears God and would not want to cause a breakup–I appreciated this answer.

He did not text me or return my calls for three days while he was in the province. He finally sent a text message after six days, saying, “Sorry, I got my ex-girlfriend back.” I was shocked, but I figured it was better to let go. Why should I fight for someone who does not deserve my love?

My question is this: Why did God take him away from me? This guy was the one I had been praying for. I really learned a lot from him, and he even helped me get closer to God. I trusted God, so why did this happen to me? I’m really hurt.

My Response:

I’m very sorry to hear about what happened to you.

First, it is important to understand that this guy is not as “God-centered” as you thought. He lied about his ex-girlfriend, then he broke up with you through a text message. What he did was dishonest and cowardly, and these are obviously not godly qualities. Maybe he knows a lot of things about the Bible, but it looks like there are still some major character problems he needs to correct. It seems like he actually used religion/faith to manipulate you and cover up his lies. I think you are better off without him.

Please don’t blame God for what happened. It is natural for us to be angry with God when something bad happens to us. The Bible actually mentions this in several places (especially in the Psalms). You need to understand, however, that this was your ex-boyfriend’s fault. He chose to lie–God certainly did not force him to do this.

We all have to live and learn. Hopefully this bad experience willhelp you to be a little wiser in your next choice of a boyfriend. Take some time to heal, forgive him, and don’t rush your next relationship, and I bet you’ll find someone better next time.

Ask Kuya Kevin: Poverty and Revenge

Here’s a few good questions from an anonymous writer:

“Some Questions to Kuya
Why God created human?
Why God created beggars?
Do they have more sin than us?
I don’t think they have more sin than us.
All of us are same degree sinners.
Then, why do they have to spend their life on the road and beg or collect the trash for living?
Why God does not provide them food and place to live?
Why God create people without our will?
Doesn’t God selfish?”

These are wonderful Questions and I appreciate your honesty. I’ll do my best to answer them.

God created us to have a relationship with Him. You can see this all the way back in Genesis when He created Adam and Eve and walked with them in the Garden of Eden.

Let’s look at this passage in regards to your question about beggars:

As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man who had been blind from birth. “Rabbi,” his disciples asked him, “why was this man born blind? Was it because of his own sins or his parents’ sins?”

“It was not because of his sins or his parents’ sins,” Jesus answered. “This happened so the power of God could be seen in him. We must quickly carry out the tasks assigned us by the one who sent us. The night is coming, and then no one can work. But while I am here in the world, I am the light of the world.”
John 9:1-5

Just because someone is suffering it does not mean they are sinful. There are many factors involved with poverty. Poverty can be caused by the environment someone grew up in, by unwise life choices, or both.

Sometimes we suffer due to the sins of others (we are hurt by wicked people, corrupt governments, etc). It isn’t fair, but it’s the way things are.

Remember that God created a perfect world. Poverty and other problems happen because we live in a world that has been corrupted by us. The Bible does not promise that this world will be perfect.

Let me give you an example. If you saw a house that had broken windows, holes in the walls, and cracks in the roof, you would not blame the architect. You would probably blame the people living in the house who did not take care of it.

We cannot blame God for the problems that we’ve created. God has given us the freedom to choose. We should do our best to try to help those who are poor and correct systems that create poverty.

“God said that he will revenge for us, if we leave our anger with Him (I don’t remember where it was written in the Bible).
But why doesn’t God leave those sinners and do not kill them?
Why does God leave good people in suffering instead of kill their enemies?”

Here’s the passage you are referring to. Look at it in context and it will become clearer:

Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say,
“I will take revenge;
I will pay them back,”
says the Lord.
“If your enemies are hungry, feed them.
If they are thirsty, give them something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap
burning coals of shame on their heads.”

-Romans 12:19-20

Christians should forgive and bless our enemies. God will take revenge in the final judgment, but not necessarily right now. He gives people the chance to repent first. We should desire that they repent, not that they be judged.

Jesus is the ultimate example of this. He asked God the Father to forgive his tormenters as he was being crucified.

I’ll give you a few final thoughts for both of these questions.

1. If we want to understand God’s love for us, we must look to the cross: The cross is where God demonstrated His ultimate act of love and sacrifice (thus He is not selfish). Look to the cross—not to the problems of this world.

But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.
-Romans 5:8

2. One day God will judge everyone, but not necessarily in this life. The story of the Rich man and Lazarus is a good example (Luke 16:19-31).

See also: this post on Typhoon Durian. It deals with some of the issues of worldwide suffering.

This is a short answer to a complicated question. I hope it is helpful to you. Thanks again for your question and your honesty.

Is It OK to Search for Love?

question-mark-heartI was planning to take a break from the “love” topic for a while, but I decided to write about this question. I was recently asked this by a young man at one of my seminars. This is an excellent question and I want to spend some time answering it.

First and foremost, I want to say that this article is for those who are ready for a serious relationship (please see my article on the right age for a relationship). If you are not ready for marriage, this article is not really for you. If you have a few years of study left, then the answer is “no, you shouldn’t search.”

Are you at a point in your life where you are ready to consider a serious relationship that will lead to marriage? Read on . . .

I’ve heard some interesting clichés about love. For example, have you ever heard this one: “love will come when you least expect it.” Here’s another good one: “you’ll find love when you stop looking.” Maybe these clichés are true some of the time, but they should not be taken as Biblical truth (I actually find them to be quite silly).

Some Christians seem to think it is not Biblical to look for a husband or wife. Searching, they would argue, means that you do not trust God. I disagree. I can give you a biblical example of a father who searched for a wife for his son:

Abraham was now a very old man, and the Lord had blessed him in every way. One day Abraham said to his oldest servant, the man in charge of his household, “Take an oath by putting your hand under my thigh. Swear by the Lord, the God of heaven and earth, that you will not allow my son to marry one of these local Canaanite women. Go instead to my homeland, to my relatives, and find a wife there for my son Isaac.”
-Genesis 24:1-4

Abraham wanted to find a godly wife for his son. In Abraham’s time, this was often the father’s responsibility (we now live in a time when it is our responsibility). He prayerfully made a plan to search. Does this mean Abraham did not trust God to fulfill His promise (Genesis 15:5)? Of course not! This story in the Bible is full of divine intervention—God guiding and blessing them as they searched. Abraham trusted God, but he knew that some practical steps should be taken. The “local” women were simply not suitable because they worshipped the pagan Canaanite gods. If he was to find a wife for his son, he would need to search in the right place.

I do have friends that met Mr/Ms Right without putting much effort into their search (or perhaps no effort). These are inspiring testimonies to hear, but we should not take them as the rule for everyone.

I also have a great friend here in Manila, for example, that has never once applied for a job—job offers have just come to him. Does that mean we should all stop applying for jobs and just ask God to send them? I think you know the answer. If someone told you they are praying for a job, you would naturally ask them where they have applied or distributed their resume. Why do we think we are supposed to be 100% passive in our search for a soul mate?

God has already done a lot to help you get a spouse. He’s put the desire for marriage in your heart. He’s filled the earth with millions of single people. We live in a time in which it is easier than ever to network with other people (due to the automobile, internet, etc). It is up to you to put some effort into making new friends.

Let’s say you are in you are a young adult and you want to be in a relationship. You have prayed and God has affirmed that the timing is right. Here are some questions you should ask yourself:

*How many new, eligible singles do you meet in a month/week?
*Are you making time to have a social life or do you just bury yourself in your work?
*Do you see the same people over and over, or do you frequently meet new people?

If you are already meeting new eligible singles on a regular basis, then you probably don’t need to change anything. Just keep praying for the opportunity to meet the right person. I suspect that some of my readers, however, have sad answers for the above three questions. The older we get, the easier it is to get into a monotonous routine—a “rut,” as we often call it. I think this is also true in Filipino culture, where the social life revolves around the barkada.* It’s easy to spend all of your time with one group of friends, get comfortable, and never expand your social network.

Abraham realized that his son Isaac was not getting any younger. There were no “prospects” in sight. Any changes in this situation would require them to step outside their “comfort zone” and do some searching. He prayerfully took some practical steps to find a suitable wife for his son—nothing wrong with taking practical steps.

Let me give you a recent example from my own life. I skipped a ministry meeting on February 14th to attend a Valentine’s Day banquet. They scheduled the meeting after I had already bought my ticket, and I knew it could go on just fine without me. Keep in mind that I also did six seminars that week, including one on Valentine’s Day itself (before attending the banquet). In other words, I was already investing plenty of time to ministry–I needed to make it a priority to invest some time in my social life. Did I meet “Ms Right?” No, at least I don’t think so. Did I have a good time and make new friends? Absolutely! It is great to meet new friends, and all of these friends have single friends, family members, etc.

That’s the beauty of expanding up your social network–you make new friends and increase your chances of meeting a potential spouse. It is not a failure if you do not immediately find a girlfriend/boyfriend. Failure is expecting changes without making any changes (some have defined insanity as doing the same thing and expecting different results).

Is it OK to search? Sure! Trust God, pray, be patient, and expand your social network in the right places. Even if you don’t immediately meet “Mr/Ms Right,” you’ll still meet many friends along the way.

*For my non-Filipino readers, barkada is a Tagalog word. The best translation is “group of friends,” although there is no exact English equivalent. Fully explaining the whole concept would require more time than I have right now.

This is one of the many articles that you’ll find in my book: Basta Lovelife: Making Wise Relationship Decisions.

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