Sin: A transgression of the law of God. An impaired state of human nature in which the self is estranged from God. (Merriam-Webster)
Sin separates us from God. We have seen this illustrated in the Bible starting with Adam and Eve. How easy it can be for us to recognize their sin and call it out. Also, how easy it can be for us to see the sins of others and if not call it out, at least whisper among ourself about it.
Sometimes, as Christians, we can be very hard on each other. We look for the speck in someone else’s eye while ignoring the log in our own eye. Matthew 7:3 However, what about the times when true, habitual sin is taking place? Do we in love, call it out? Do we separate ourselves from the person who is participating in this cycle of sinful behavior? Do we make it know that we do not support their decisions? Take a moment to think about your answer.
Now, what if the person in question was your child?
Would your response be the same now as it was a second ago?
I was heartbroken to hear the story of Rick Burgess and his family this week. If you are not familiar with the situation, you can catch up here:
Basically, his daughter has chosen a way of life that is contrary to the Word of God. Even though Rick loves his daughter very much, he is a Christian first and is accountable to stand for the the laws of God. You can only imagine the criticism that he and his wife have received for not supporting their daughter’s decision.
However, if Rick and his wife proclaim Christianity then how can they also stand for anything that is in complete opposition of the Word of God? What kind of message would that read to their audience and to their daughter? “Sin is sin until it happens in my own home and then it is ok?” They would be doing their daughter a huge injustice by enabling her ungodly decision. Yet, how hard it must be to have to speak against your own child. I applaud this strong family for making known what is right regardless of who is involved.
It is important to remember, none of us wrote the Bible, we are only charged with obeying it. Even if it means speaking out against a family member’s sin.
In the book of 1 Samuel, we find the story of Eli, the priest and Samuel. However, there is another element of the story that does not get a lot of attention. Eli had two sons who were also priests. These two sons were disobedient to the Lord in the way that they handled sacrifices, as well as bullying the people and sleeping with women who gathered around the tabernacle. Eli was aware of what his sons were doing and warned them to stop but they did not hear him. In Samuel 3:13, God said that He will judge Eli’s house forever because of the iniquity Eli knows about. His sons are defiling the sanctuary, and Eli has not stopped them.
Wow, that is a very sobering verse. God was holding Eli responsible for not dealing with his sons by holding their feet to the truths and instructions of the Lord. This story suggests to me that a parent is responsible for the correction, reprimand and verbal disapproval of their child’s sinful behavior even when that child is an adult. Since Eli was a priest, was he held to a higher standard than you and me? I do not know, but I would not want to find out that answer the hard way.
As Christians, we have two choices concerning the sinful choices of others. We can either speak out against it or we can put our stamp of approval on it by remaining silent.
Although, sometimes sinful lifestyles may not be just flat out rebellion but rather the individual has simply lost their way. We find this situation in the Parable of the Prodigal Son.
Luke 15:11-32 tells the familiar story of a young man wanting his inheritance. I believe that he was lost not only spiritually but simply lost in the world of adulthood as well. This young man wanted to be free to explore the world for himself and the story tells us that he indulged in many things. Chances are, he thought he was really living life to the fullest. This was the way that things were meant to be. However, he had left home, so he was no longer surrounded by a wise and Godly influence.
Side note: Satan is having a field day picking off our young people because they are typically only surrounding themselves with other people of their own age. There is no wisdom, depth or direction in that. We all need the guidance of an elder.
One of the most powerful phrases of this story is found in verse 20- But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him….he ran to his son. This tells us that the father did not travel the journey of self discovery with his son. He did not go and plead with him to come home but he equally did not banish his son from his life. Instead, the father waited patiently and lovingly for God to work in his son’s life and put him on the path back home.
This story is a beautiful example of how to love from a distance. Did the father of this boy love his son? Of course. Does Rick Burgess love his daughter? He confirms that he does many times in the article. However, when a loved one chooses a habit or behavior that is in complete opposition of God’s Law, one is called to be an obedient Christian before one is called to be a parent.
If you are dealing with a real issue in your family, this whole thing may seem unthinkable, but I can promise that God’s grace will see you through. All He is asking from you is to stand up and openly support His Law. I can promise you that He will honor and reward your obedience one way or another. God is asking you today to move in faith and obedience today by turning your misled loved one over to Him. Let that loved one see that being obedient to the Lord holds priority over everything, even your love for them. You may make them angry at first, but God has a way of causing everything to work together for the good of those who love Him. Romans 8:28.
He loves your child even more than you do and will go out in search of the one!
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