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March 24, 2003 Q & A

Wayward child

Question:

The daughter of a friend of ours was raised "in a Christian environment," left the nest, and has fallen prey to the world, becoming pregnant while not married, etc. Her dad, our friend, has completely cut her off, including all communication, as he says she refuses to repent, and God says we should have no dealings with unrepentant sinners. I said to him that God gave their daughter to them, she is their child, and what she needs now is unconditional love and support rather than a sermon. I don't want you to take sides. I just want your input. Thanks.

Answer:

This is a difficult question. I believe that Christian parents should not support a child's sinful lifestyle. "Shouldest thou help the ungodly, and love them that hate the LORD? Therefore is wrath upon thee from before the LORD" (2 Chr. 19:2).

A Christian parent should love his child unconditionally. "... thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself: I am the LORD" (Lev. 19:18). "Love" means to behave in a lawful manner towards someone. This does not preclude meting out punishment when appropriate.

Yes, we must shun the unrepentant sinner who has been excommunicated from the church, but this does not mean a complete cutting off of all communication with that individual. While we may not carry on normal social relations with such an individual, we may meet with them for the purpose of encouraging them to return to the Lord. Those who have known the truth and turn from it are in a far worse state than those who have never known the truth (2 Pet. 2:20-21).

I have communicated with my children that there is absolutely nothing they could ever do which would cause me to stop loving them. No matter what they did, I will always love them. Though their sins would grieve me, I would never stop praying for them and claiming God's covenant promises toward them (Prov. 22:6, Eph. 6:3, 1 Cor. 7:14).

Finally, a case could be made for helping with medical expenses for one's grandchild. Surely the man would not want to penalize an innocent grandchild or risk cutting off all future opportunities to have an influence in the grandchild's life.

"... in wrath remember mercy" (Hab. 3:2).

 

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