Sun | Jan 20, 2019

Render your heart and not your garment

Published:Thursday | December 24, 2015 | 11:02 PM

Dear Joan,

I am sick and tired of hearing people using this expression to justify wearing whatever they want. 'Render your heart and not your garment.' Every time I talk to some of my friends about dressing appropriately as Christians, this term come at me. When I look into the Bible, I don't even see that, I see: "Rend your heart". I tell them it's not permission for them to do as they like, but they insist God cares more about the heart than what they wear. I really don't know how to explain it, but I am certain this scripture is not a license for them to dress as they like. Could you explain what it really means for me please, I will ensure I take this response to them!

- K.J.


Dear K.J.

You are so right, the verse has nothing to do with their dress mode. Unfortunately, a lot of people are putting their own spin on it and using it to do as they please.

Just to give you a background of the verse which can be found in Joel 2 vs 13. In those days, when the Israelites sinned, to show how sorry they were, they would cut up their clothes (remember rend means to tear) to show God how sorry they were for their actions. The scripture is really saying that they should be cut up from their hearts instead of cutting their clothes. A person who is really torn up from the heart is more likely to turn away from doing wrong things, than someone who just goes through the ritual of cutting their clothes.

I hope this helps.

Do I have to marry my baby father?


Dear Joan,

I have a problem that I am hoping you can help me to deal with. I grew up in the church, I was never one to go out much as I always enjoyed staying home, reading a book or just watching television. Things like going to parties never appealed to me. I was comfortable with my life, or so I thought, until I met the man who is going to be the father of my baby, who totally opened up a whole new world to me.

He took me out, gave me a good time, joked around and honestly I started to have feelings for him. He knew just how to play me, I must admit. Because I was so sheltered, I didn't even know he was doing and saying all the right things to have me hooked on him.

I told him I didn't believe in sex before marriage and he persuaded me that his intentions were honourable and he just wants to make sure we were compatible. Honestly, I didn't enjoy the experience much as he was a little rough and my first time hurt. After that, I flatly refused any other intimacy with him. The trouble is, I found out that the one experience has left me pregnant! I can't believe it, I didn't even have a climax. My parents are mad and are saying the man should marry me as he messed me up.

He seems to be giving in to pressure, but I don't think he is the one for me. Should I give in and marry him, just because he has gotten me pregnant?

- C.T.


Dear C.T.,

I have never supported the stance that you should compound one mistake with another. I know your parents want to see you bring your child into the right situation, but marrying him just to make you look good in church is not the answer. Had it been a case where you are genuinely in love with him and feel in your heart that he is the one for you, then I would say go for it. However, from what you have written, you would do well to have your child and see where it leads from there. I am not saying you two won't end up together, if things change more power to you both, but marrying under duress is not the solution. I do hope your parents will eventually see this.

- Joan

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