Bill and Fred are both faithful in their attendance and active in the work of the local church, but unfortunately both men have a grown child who does not serve the Lord faithfully. The spiritual lives of Bill and Fred seem similar in many ways, but when it comes to dealing with the unfaithful child there is a big difference.
When Bill is asked about his son, he is honest in describing the situation and urges everyone to do all they can to help restore his son to faithfulness. On the other hand, if anything is said to Fred, he immediately becomes defensive and makes excuses for his son. While Bill wishes people would be more direct in dealing with the soul-threatening sin in his son’s life, Fred continually worries that someone is going to say the wrong thing to his son and “offend” him.
There are a lot of “Bills” who understand the danger their erring children are in and seek the help of all. But tragically, there are far too many “Freds” who seem so worried about the feelings of their children that they make excuses for them, cover up for them, perhaps trying to keep people from even finding out about them and become resentful toward those who do try to help.
When people are overtaken in sin fellow-Christians have an obligation to restore them (Galatians 6:1; James 5:19, 20). As parents, we must make certain that we do not stand in the way of those seeking to restore the erring. To carry it even further, are the parents themselves excused from the obligation to “restore such a one”? It has to be truly heart-breaking and gut-wrenching for a parent to see the church withdraw from one of their children (ref. 1 Corinthians 5:1-13; 2 Thessalonians 3:6-15), but a parent who has the proper faith in God and a true love for his child rejoices that others care enough about their child to follow God’s plan. Though painful, they trust that the desired end is that “his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus” (1 Corinthians 5:5).
Let us love our children; seek to train them when they are young and then remember two things if they should choose not to remain faithful:
- We must love Jesus (and His teachings) even more than our children (Matthew 10:37).
- Our love for our children is a very shallow love if it does not extend to their souls.
Parents, please think carefully about this painful subject. Do not ever allow your love, pride, embarrassment, shame or anything else to stand in the way of that which is needed to bring your child to repentance.
A big thanks to my friend John Gibson for allowing me to post his article. You can find more God-honoring material from John at www.pepperroadchurch.org.