HOW DO PARENTS DEAL WITH THE UNREPENTANT SIN OF YOUNG ADULTS?
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Facebook post, September 23, 2019
Dealing with the sin of young children that are still living 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 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.)
However, when children reach adult stage, 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.
Now 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, because the parents of their friends do not expect their children to live by Scriptural standards. Hence, Godly parents feel they did not raise them successfully according to God’s standards; and they are loveless, legalistic, and harsh to expect them to 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 desires and behavior of their children.
However, Jesus warned in Lu. 14:26-27, “If anyone… does not hate [in relation to their love for Me] their [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 to repent from moral sin, (Jn. 1:12-13.) If the youngster is a believer already, it is necessary to stand on the Moral-Law precepts that govern our lives in Christ and our human relationships, (Jn. 13:34.) 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, house rules. They cannot be allowed to dictate to their parents, turn the home upside down, and violate the Moral Law of God unrepentantly.
They 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 such sin while living at home. 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 can result in growing rebellion 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 forcing us into heaven.] …The son shall not bear the guilt of the father, nor the father bear the guilt of the [adult] son…."
The parents must henceforward treat the adult child with the same sense of personal responsibility with which 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 this happens, the parents must still keep on following Jesus as 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 a 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, (Mt. 18:15-20.) Actions can sometimes preach louder than words.
Ž Read the book, illustrative of this study: What Meddling Parents can do to Adult Children