Paul basically said this: “We are to stay away from believers who sin but not away from sinners who sin.” The topic in this article would have been unthinkable just forty years ago, and now it would appear to be the norm, although taking into consideration the media’s proclivity toward pressing the concept of a norm that in fact exists only rarely. First, the Christian parents must establish that the situation is not all about them. Too many Christian couples have their identity tied up in the behavior of the
children. When a child reaches the age of accountability, his choices do not absolutely reflect on the parents. Historically the Jews had a practice of beating a father if a child under age thirteen committed a wrongful act, but after age thirteen, the child received the punishment. Many parents do deserve beatings, in that their behavior has created monsters. I remember a counseling session wherein the parents told me they put cookies on the steps to their child’s bedroom to get him to go to bed at night. Once the child entered his room, still eating the trail of cookies, the door was shut, thereby forcing the child to sleep. Imagine a young child so out of control. Amen.
The child who is grown up is making his own decisions. There is a Way and a “not the Way,” and sometimes out of the freedom of choice God has given him, he has decided to choose what is not the Way and move in with a “partner.” This has nothing to do with the parents who have never expressed any type of assent for such behavior, so why all the embarrassment? Could it be that the parents have a bit of image tied up in the child, and all of their boasting about him in the past is coming back to haunt them? Virtually all parents have done the same thing, wanting to put the most positive twist on their children’s behavior. Again, it is not about the parents but God’s working in the child’s life.
I was speaking in South Africa about homosexuality in a manner that, in my opinion, was a balanced view. A pastor came up after the teaching and said, “I gave nearly the exact sermon one year ago to my church of 2,000, and today I am unemployed.”
I responded, “Yes, and let me tell you who ran you out of the church: the mothers of all the gays.”
He looked shocked and said, “Yes! But why?”
“Their identity is foremost in their children, not in Christ. They choose their mothering instinct over God. You were sunk when you said anything negative to mothers who have their identity tied up in their children. Criticizing the child seemed tantamount to condemning the mother, and hence the forceful reaction.“
Remember, there are no second-generation believers. God must bring the situations forcing a child to choose. You have very little to do with that. In short, get over your pride and glory, move out of the way, and let God work!
Having said all that, what are we to do when we see a child living in sin? As in every area of life when we do not know where to go or where to hide, we must hide in the truth, for there we will find Christ, the Truth. Tell the truth to your child about how living with the opposite sex (outside of marriage) or the same sex is sin, period. It is not your judgment but the judgment of God. Too many parents make sin comfortable for their children, but any time the easy way is chosen today, a harder choice will be waiting ahead for later. Choose the easy way and one day the child will stand before God with no mother or father interceding, and when God speaks, no one speaks back. If I hear the following statement one more time, I think I will go mad. “Well, our daughter is living with a man, and we have decided just to LOVE them.” Let us put that statement in perspective. What one really is saying is, “I am attached to my child more than I am attached to God. I could not stand to lose the child, so I am playing the ‘love’ card to keep him near and to keep the Bible from judging my passive participation in his sin, which will condemn him.” A very worldly progression of reasoning goes something like this: “God is love. Love is unconditional. Love is acceptance. Acceptance is unconditional. If you do not accept the behavior, you do not love and are a person of hate.” No! God is love, period, not “unconditional” love, which puts an addition to love. No, God is love. Love is why the world is not destroyed. I have a hard time wrapping my head around this, but God does love a pedophile, for the center of love is not a behavior but our God. Wow! However, God’s acceptance is separate from love. He does not accept all behavior, and one behavior that is anti-God is living with someone other than a spouse. There are too many “ifs” in the Bible. God is love, period. He will be Love to every sinner until the end of that one’s days. He is not unconditional acceptance. People do go to hell.
So what is there to do if a child is living with another? We tell him it is sin on several levels. Males and females are experiencing something meant to be reserved for marriage. Paul even says that one would offend his brother by having sex with someone he is not going to marry. Gays are experiencing something stupid. Yes, yes, I know all the causes, and I work on that level with Christians who struggle in order to support them. As I said to a Christian leader who struggled with homosexuality, “I would rather struggle with the temptation of homosexuality and be driven to Christ in humility and brokenness than never to struggle.” Those persons are much different from the ones actively engaging in those acts and believing them to be the way. We are never to judge, for only the judgments of the Lord are true, and He has made His judgment that fornication and homosexuality are sin. We stand with Him and confront our loved ones with the Truth. Next, we must treat them as we would any other couple living in sin. We would treat them like our neighbors who are living in sin. We love, we share, we are available, and we do not reject them. Remember, though, we must always tell the truth as mentioned above. Truth can make others cut themselves off from us; we do not cut ourselves off from sinners. I say this to help prepare for the day we might be cut off because of telling our children the truth.
Again, Love is not unconditional. Love is love; do not add a term to it. Acceptance is conditional. Many refuse the sword brought by the Lord by saying what sounds so very spiritual, “We are just going to love our gay son.” Yes, we must love all or the love of God is not in us. However, we should never allow love to be used as an excuse to accept a wicked behavior. Tell the truth and let truth land where it will. Many well-meaning and hurting parents have accepted their children, but they cannot act in love while accepting behaviors that kill a person. It will not work. Love the person and do not accept the sin. Love and acceptance are two words that have been blended for the sake of compromise. I have been amazed at the demands made by children that their behavior and decisions be accepted. No! They must bend and accept our convictions in Christ. When coming to your home, they are not to sleep together, the “gay” (my, what a fabrication that term is) couple is not invited to Christmas to gaze at each other in lust, hold hands, and make the rest of the family miserable as they press their deceptive point of having found happiness. Kill the snake in the egg. If they want to come to your house, they will sleep in separate bedrooms, and overt sin is not tolerated. After all, it is your home. In all this, the love of God comes. It is good for a child to know that when he is sinning, the parents disapprove. It takes a good bit out of the “passing pleasure” of sin. Remember, God gave the fulfillment of the law when He gave His Son. In a like manner, we can clarify the law through offering the Son. Do not be undone, for God is at work.