A: This is a serious problem, and I'm thankful you realize it and want to do something about it. You love your family, and it would be tragic to see you repeat the same mistakes your parents made. God certainly doesn't want you to do that.
I'm not a psychologist, of course (and it may be good for you to find a trained counselor who can help you sort through your problems). But I suspect one reason you act this way is because you grew up with a lot of anger and frustration over the way you were treated. But you never learned how to deal with it; in fact, you probably just tried to push it aside.
But now when things don't go your way, that hidden anger erupts — even against people you love. Until you learn to deal with your past, you'll always be in danger of letting these things burst forth. The Bible warns, “Like a city whose walls are broken through is a person who lacks self-control” (Proverbs 25:28).
What can you do? First — hard as it may seem — ask God to help you forgive your parents, and to let go of your hurts and resentments. Then turn your life over to Jesus Christ, confessing your sins and trusting Him to forgive you and help you and fill you with His love. Christ can take away the poisons of the past and replace them with His love and strength. The Bible says, “Hatred stirs up conflict, but love covers over all wrongs” (Proverbs 10:12).
Q: Have you ever heard anyone say that “God hates the sin but loves the sinner?” Is it in the Bible? My cousin quotes it whenever we get to talking about his immoral lifestyle. He claims it means he doesn't need to quit his sinful ways, because God still loves him and will take him to heaven anyway. Is he right? — Z.P.
A: No, your cousin is not right — and in fact he is deceiving himself by thinking he can live any way he wants to and still get to heaven. One of the devil's oldest tricks is to deceive us into thinking God doesn't care how we live.
The saying you quote isn't found in the Bible — although it contains much truth. God does love us — even when we don't love Him in return. But He doesn't love our sin — and one reason is because He knows it will ultimately destroy us. Just as earthly parents continue loving a wayward child in spite of their rebellion, so our Heavenly Father continues loving, in spite of our rebellion.
God loves us so much, in fact, that He sent His Son into the world to make it possible for us to be forgiven. Would Jesus Christ have gone to the cross if sin didn't matter, and God was going to take us to heaven anyway? No, of course not. The Bible says, "God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8).
Pray for your cousin, and ask God to help you be both loving and honest with him. He needs Christ, and hopefully once he understands what it cost Christ to bring us our salvation, he'll want to repent of his sins and open his heart to 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.