HOW DO PARENTS DEAL WITH THE UNREPENTANT SIN OF TEENAGERS AND YOUNG ADULTS?
[Acknowledgement to the person who compiled and published this image]
© COPYRIGHT NOW UNBANNED PUBLICATIONS
The study of human behavior, as also found in psychology but not so much in psychiatry, is the crux of this article; confirmed and guided by the never-changing, Scriptural Word of the Lord Jesus Christ. Nevertheless, as many psychologists also use psychiatry in their “talk therapy,” one must be careful to “test and prove everything to see if it is from God,” (1 Ths. 5:21-22.) Additionally, where the word “victim” is used, it does not mean a “victim mentality that merely seeks sympathy” or anything similar. It factually refers to the true “injured parties,” “fatalities,” or “casualties” of barnyard bullies, narcissists, psychopaths, and other sadists.
Facebook post, September 23, 2019
Dealing with the sin of young children that must still live at home is relatively ‘easy.’ God simply commanded us not to “provoke our children to rebellion [by abusing them either verbally or physically,] but to bring them up in the [Scriptural] training and discipline [not maltreatment,] of the Lord,” so that children can “obey [and respect] their parents in the Lord…” (Eph. 5:3, 2, 1.) Abuse aside, if we neglect Godly disciple, we actually hate our children, (Prov. 13:24.) This is obedience to the example of Jesus, Who, in His total humanity, also “had to learn obedience through [God’s discipline,]” (Heb. 5:8.)
However, when children become teenagers, things become more complicated and can turn nasty when they must begin to follow their hearts to find their own values, beliefs, and support systems – as this mostly clash with what their parents have taught them - and often, with what God commands in Scripture. Such conflicts are awful, but their challenge to Godly parental authority is a ‘natural’ part of reaching adulthood, which will hopefully soon blow over. Yet, teenage and young adult rebellion has the power to quickly turn into complete irresponsibility, alcohol and drug addiction, criminal activities, violence, sexual immorality, and even homosexuality and lesbianism, which can break the family apart.
The serious question arises: What must parents do when teenagers and young adults want to bring home their drug addict friends, fornicating lovers, and same-sex partners - and expect their parents’ approval to ‘confirm’ their ‘love’ for them?
The most common scare tactic that teenagers and young adults use to get away with unrepentant sin, is to attack their parents’ restraint by loading guilt upon them. No one is perfect, and parents who strive to glorify God, also fall into this criterion. Moreover, if the parents of their friends do not expect their children to live by Scriptural principles although they are Christian, that places the wind of defiance at the backs of young rebels. Hence, Godly parents might feel they did not raise their children successfully according to God’s standards. They might even illogically begin to believe that they are hypocritical, loveless, legalistic, and harsh to expect their children to abstain from, and repent from sin. This opens up the way for the sickening fear that they might forever lose their children should they place God before the sinful behavior of their children. Such a notion is enough to make any fiery disciple of Jesus become compliant concerning God’s truth.
However, Jesus warned in Lu. 14:26-27, “If anyone… does not hate [in relation to their love for Me] their [even dearest loved ones,] and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. And whoever does not bear his cross [or hardship for the sake of Gospel Truth,] and come after Me, cannot be My disciple.”
The first “defence” of Godly parents is to prayerfully do everything in their power, (except to force the young adult, ) to bring him or her to accept Jesus personally and then to repent from immorality, (Jn. 1:12-13.) If the youngster was raised according to God’s Moral Law or is a believer already, it is necessary to stand on the Scriptural precepts that govern our lives in Christ, as well as our human relationships, (Jn. 13:34.) Both parents and children should be able to speak their hearts and minds — as long as they do it with sincerity and respect. Parents must, as far as possible, always be open, reasonable, and accessible for their children to discuss anything with them — and visa versa. Paul wrote in Gal. 6:1, “If someone is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you are also tempted [to anger, wrath, and other sin,]” (Mt. 18:15-20.)
That is easier said than done, however, because God does not violate the free will He had entrusted to all of us. What both parents and children must realize is that while young adults are living at home, they must abide by Godly, (not sinful or merely controlling,) house rules. They cannot be allowed to dictate to their parents, turn the home upside down, and disrespectfully violate the Moral Law of God unrepentantly. Sadly, even truly Godly parental resistance of teenage and young adult revolt can be a recipe for domestic war.
No matter what happens, teenagers and young adults must know that their parents’ expectation to live by God’s rules do not in any way affect their parents’ love for them. Yet, they must also understand that the parents will under no circumstances allow them to continue in immorality while living at home, because this amounts to loving them “more than” Jesus. God warned in Rom. 1:18-32, “The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth, because [they know in their hearts Who God Is and what He has shown to them in Scripture.] Therefore… [God will punish even] those who approve of those that practice [such sins.]”
Usually, withstanding unrepentant sin results in growing upheaval and the young adult might even move out of the home as soon as possible. What happens then? Should the parents accept the immoral relationship, drug addiction, etcetera, to escape heartache and rejection?
Certainly not, but now the scene has changed. The young adult has become a full adult, who takes complete responsibility for his or her own actions before God. As a result, parents have lost their authority and moral responsibility before God and society for the care and actions of their adult child. God declared in Ezk. 18:4, 23, 20, “All the souls are Mine… [so only I can decide their final fate.] I have no pleasure at all that the wicked should die but that he should turn from his ways and live. [But God will not violate our free will by either forcing us to live morally, or by abducting us to heaven. So,] the son shall not bear the guilt [or responsibility] of the father, nor the father bear the guilt of the son…."
Henceforward, the parents must treat the adult child with the same sense of personal responsibility they treat other adults. This does not mean that their adult children have the right to treat them with disrespect and reject their Godly counsel. But even if that happens, the parents must still keep on following Jesus, just like in other instances where they must suffer for the Truth of His Word, (Mt. 24:13.)
Parents must continue to govern their own lives and homes in the truth of Jesus’ Word by making it clear that the adult child will always be welcome at home. Yet, the house rules will still apply when the adult child chooses to visit the parents. As mere guests in their parents’ homes, adult children must always respect God and their Godly parents.
Should the adult child chose to bring a “partner” to visit; either from the opposite or same sex, or an alcoholic or drug addict friend, fornication and addictions must be left outside the property. The fornicating partner or drug addict friend too, must clearly understand the Godly house rules of the parents, and always behave accordingly during visits.
The behavior of the parents, in return, must be courteous while they always wait on the Holy Spirit to open up an opportunity to minister His truth in love to their adult children and their friends - silly nagging and angry biting excluded, of course. Spiteful violation of the parents’ Godly house rules must be addressed in a straight-forward but calm way.
Naturally, this will not solve the problem unless adult children wholeheartedly turn to Jesus. But while God never called us to forcibly change people in any way, parents will have to obey the true context of Scripture to prayerfully deal with possible conflicts that may arise from such difficult relationships. Again, their conduct must constantly reflect their faith in, and obedience to God, as in all their other relationships, without clinging to useless church legalism, (Mt. 18:15-20.)
Words cannot preach loudly without the necessary Godly actions to compliment them.
When things go wrong and the relationship with rebellious children disintegrate, parents must not lose hope.
They must, however, respect the wishes of adult children and not push their faith, morality, and themselves into their lives. If adult children should make the terrible choice to reject their Godly parents, it is time to give them enough space and time to sort out their own values and beliefs. Often, people only come to the realization of what their parents were standing for after a long period. It is during this time that heartache and loneliness may compel parents to accept the maltreatment of adult children, but healthy boundaries will keep the door open for reconciliation while allowing Jesus to “convince of sin, righteousness, and judgement,” as we live by faith and not by sight, (Jn. 16:8-12.)
Such heartbreaking separations also give Godly parents the opportunity to deepen their own understanding of God’s Word and their faith in, and reliance on Him to “heap up treasures in heaven and not one earth.”