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I'm not suggesting you wash your brother-in-law's toes, but I believe the way to a non-believer's heart is through a consistent, loving and serving attitude toward them. So start looking for ways to show God's love to your sister and brother-in-law. Run an errand for them, make them a nice meal. And occasionally ask your brother-in-law about hobbies, sports or other things he's interested in. When you ask, be sure to listen to what he has to say. Your interest in him and his life will show him you care about him as a member of your family.

Let's face it, your sister chose to marry this guy. Maybe no one else in your family would have voted him to be your sister's husband, but what's done is done. It's true your sister's faith may slip because of her husband's influence, but keep in mind what Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount: "Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven" (Matthew 5:16). If you keep the positive light of God surrounding your sister and her husband,

I believe they'll eventually be drawn to the source of that light.

Why Didn't God Stop My Abuse?

I was sexually, physically and emotionally abused by my father when I was young. I've been in counseling for a long time, but I still can't stop being angry about this. I want to know where God was when I was being abused. Why didn't he make my dad stop? I grew up feeling hopeless and helpless and believing God didn't care about me. Now I can't trust God. I can't depend on him or turn to him for help. I begged for his help before and it never came. It isn't enough to hear God cares, or that he really was there, because I feel the effects of my abuse much more than I have ever felt God's help. I want to know why God let this happen to me.

I wish I could wave a magic wand and make all your pain and trauma go away. I wish you, and many others who talk with me, didn't have to go through the horrible abuse that took place in your lives. It seems like anything I write will sound trite compared to the immense pain in your life.

We're often left with more questions than answers in these tragic situations. I believe Jesus Christ can, and does, identify with you. As he hung on the cross in agony, I believe he felt your hopelessness and pain. He must have felt alone, abandoned and perhaps deeply hurt at the fact that he was innocent, yet had to be punished for the sins of the world. If Christ were with you in the flesh right now, I honestly think you would sense his love for you and his grief for what your father did to you. God is the loving, caring Father you didn't have on earth, and I believe he's hurt to the core by what happened to you.

I'm sure it's difficult for you to envision a Father who cares for you and loves you deeply, since your own father treated you so badly. And it may take many more years of healing before you're able to think of God as a loving Father. But I want to encourage you to look for ways God is showing you his love right now. You may even want to read what the Bible has to say about God's tremendous love for you. Here are just a few verses you could look at: Jeremiah 31:3-5; Romans 8:15-17; 1 John 4:9-10. I hope these verses will help you see the loving God who cares about what has happened to you.

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