Friday, August 23, 2013

Parents Supporting Wicked Children

  Two stories have been in the Chattanooga papers recently.  One was the continuing legal complications of a family that are all locked up in prison.  They had appealed their sentences which came about due to a plea bargain over aiding and abetting a known fugitive, supplying a felon with weapons, etc.  Said felon was the son, brother, boyfriend of the family members now in prison.  The appeal was denied.  The crime of the "son" was killing a policeman in the midst of an armed robbery.
   The second story was the story of a female police detective who had applied for benefits for her lesbian lover/partner from the police authority/government where she works.  This story was about how the church in which her family were members had exercised  church discipline against the family due to their support of their daughter while she appealed for family benefits for her partner.  The disciplined the family not because they supported their daughter, but because they seemed to publicly support her lifestyle in appealing for family benefits.
    The local newspaper editorial of course mocked the church for taking the stand that it took.  This editorial actually referred to a a caricature used in a fairly liberal television drama as if it were a legitimate religious argument.  The news reporting typically interviewed a cross section of religious leaders who took different views concerning the decision of the congregation in question.
    One note about religious news reporting; it is simplistic if not misleading to quote religious leaders as if they are all equally qualified to speak for a certain religion.  Most religious leaders know that the religion of those who believe the Bible is a different religion from those who don't believe it.  Those who hold to a conservative theology actually believe and hold to the Bible as authority, while those who hold to a liberal theology use the Bible's words but only give it authority when they agree with it.  These are two very different things.
   I doubt most people have a problem with the condemnation of the family that supported their murderous relative.  I imagine most parents would find themselves in a horrible emotional state if one of their children broke the law, and while trying to maintain a tie of love and emotional support they would hopefully condemn the crime.
    This must happen frequently, seeing how many people we have in prison.  It is obvious that any parent can be in a situation where they don't approve of the moral choices of their children but don't want to completely end the relationship.  Most everyone is somebody's child, and all human beings have moral failings.  Sometimes they are fairly benign, but all too often they leave parents in a tough spot.
     How many parents have seen their kids strung out on drugs and alcohol and have had to struggle through co-dependency so as to love their child but not enable them in their addiction?  How many parents have watched their children get married, have children, and then commit adultery and leave that first spouse?  The parents (now grandparents) might have loved that first spouse, hate it that their grand kids are now in a divided family, and know they still have to somehow love and emotionally support that grown child that they feel has failed to have the character they had hoped to see.
    Yes, as in our first example, we have seen parents who have taken entirely the wrong approach.  When the police come they hide the child, even fight the police, and help the child break the law.  Some parents have so wanted to be accepted by their children that even though the child is isolated, morose, and bitter they keep buying them violent video games.  That hasn't turned out too well either.
    Over the last decade or so we have seen public figures whose children came out as homosexual take public stands to support them.   Even though these parents had never seemed to advocate this behavior they now seem to give public acquiescence to it based on the family relationship.  "I can't disown my own child," seemed to be the message.  I think the congregation in Chattanooga did the right thing.  They didn't condemn the loving and supporting of a child, even the child who the church considered to be living in known sin.  They did condemn the idea that a Christian family would stand with their child in the attempt to normalize and make acceptable that sin.
      This has been a dilemma many parents have found themselves in during this present cultural climate, and many have made the wrong choice.  We should always love our children, even the ones who are breaking our heart as we turn them over to the police if necessary.  Our children cannot determine our morality, that is left to a much greater family relationship, namely our Heavenly Father.  It is his opinion that counts not the Supreme Court, the President of the United States, public opinion polls, and certainly not the newspaper.
     People in the United States who think this is a passing commitment of conservative Christians needed to be disabused of that idea.  Though we hope to speak with greater and greater compassion, the idea that those who believe the Scriptures will somehow grow out of their stand against the practice of homosexuality is naive.  Some will lose their faith, that has always been a reality, but the Faith will not change.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting blog. Not having bioligical children of my own, it is a difficult thing to imagine how parents must deal with several simultaneous feelings towards the wrongs of their children. Feelings, shame, anger, dispair, sadness, and a sense of betrayal must be difficult. And yet for Christian parents a hope of a prodigal son (or daughter) final outcome must at times be a partial hope. It has happened before, but I suspect statistically true repentance is not the norm. The closest I can get to this is seeing some of the posts on fb of former kids we worked with through our church in years past, some of whom are now adults and whose posted values are far removed from what we tried to teach them. The issue homosexual lifestyles in children is more complicated and will become moreso the more man's laws countenance the behavior. It is truly disheartening that a secular country like Russia or jihadist leaning Islamic countries can be more forceful in disapproving homosexuality than "Christian" America. Although I still think the jury is still out on non-Christian heterosexual/anti homosexual backlash. The more the homosexual movenment imposes its values on cultures the more you may see a backlash. I think I better understand now the rational of Puritans and Pilgrims trying to start fresh in a new land. And yet how do you convey passages like Romans 1:27 , 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, and depending on the translations, many other passages denouncing homosexual behavior. And yet something in us must have room for compassion for of the penitent child and forgiveness of the repentent child. The father in the prodigal son did embrace him after his repentance. These scenarios play out continually in our culture these days. The late Adrian Rogers has a series broadcast this week on a "Love Worth Finding" radio broadcast on pornography, particularly internet pornography, which I am convinced is at the core of many of the bizarre behaviors being acted out in today's news. From Weiner to Filner ad nauseum.