Question:

My daughter and her fiancé moved in with us over two months ago because he lost his job. Part of their plan was to move a great distance to where his dad lives. I told my daughter that they had to get married immediately upon their arrival and she agreed. I told her that I felt their problems in the life may be due to the fact that God ordained marriage from Adam on. In our house it would only be right for our Christian moral and ethical standards we strive to live by that they abide by them.  We are not perfect, but we strive to be God fearing and loving-kindness type people.

All our friends know that from day one after the move in, I and our daughter's mother have tried not to nag but get them to the County Clerk's office for the application to marry. Now several months have passed. It seems that my kids have become disobedient and leading a deceitful life. Most seriously offending God is so dangerously sinful, but I can't convince them of that. 

We go on day after day seemingly playing this nice little game with me or my wife asking them to join in our Bible studies, but something else usually is more fitting. I have told the fiancé that our pastor sees it the same as I do and he is ready at anytime to come to our house and perform a ceremony.

Their plan of moving to where his father lives has now been scuttled and the new plan is to stay in the area and have a big marriage ceremony here.  It seems as though it has become more than just embarrassing to bring up getting the license.  If they keep on making plans to move out and disregard the principles of our spiritual connection to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. It is so sinful. 

I love my daughter and her fiancé more than imaginable and the baby is practically my life but I almost can say at times I fear for them. I and her mother have lost sleep over this and last night was more than sleepless for me. I was awake in meditation for Him, fasting with prayer and supplication; distraught at times because of the behaviors I couldn't change and begging help from God.  He is working through Saturday, so no chance for the certificate this week.  He will be able to take his family to our church where they have no membership anywhere. No religious affiliation at all. They both are professing Christians but in a very slidden condition. 

The fiancé has a son from a previous relationship.  In my aura of meditation his son came to me and the fact that he is very lost and what does he see in his Dad.  He is very much at the age of recognition, knowing full well right and wrong and that there must be a Supreme Being. So I have my hands full, but I know that the full armor of God (what I have tried to get the kids to understand: prayer, Bible study, church and association with others his and their age, and etc.) is in place.

I will fast until I hear from you. Please pray and offer anything else.


Answer:

As I read your story I was constantly reminded of Eli. He judged Israel for forty years and served God as His high priest. There is no record of any outward evil or sin in his life. He would be someone we would all describe as a "good" man. Eli was even admirably humble. When he was told that Samuel would take his place Eli doesn't rebel, grumble, or become bitter, envious, or spiteful. Instead, he spends his years teaching Samuel how to serve God.

Yet, for all of his admirable characteristics, he had a grievous flaw.

"Then the LORD said to Samuel: "Behold, I will do something in Israel at which both ears of everyone who hears it will tingle. In that day I will perform against Eli all that I have spoken concerning his house, from beginning to end. For I have told him that I will judge his house forever for the iniquity which he knows, because his sons made themselves vile, and he did not restrain them. And therefore I have sworn to the house of Eli that the iniquity of Eli's house shall not be atoned for by sacrifice or offering forever"" (I Samuel 3:11-14).

God was angry with Eli, not for what he did, but for what he neglected to do. Eli wasn't guilty of any great sin, but his sons were. These were not secret sins; Eli was aware of what they were doing.

"Now Eli was very old; and he heard everything his sons did to all Israel, and how they lay with the women who assembled at the door of the tabernacle of meeting. So he said to them, "Why do you do such things? For I hear of your evil dealings from all the people. No, my sons! For it is not a good report that I hear. You make the LORD'S people transgress. If one man sins against another, God will judge him. But if a man sins against the LORD, who will intercede for him?" Nevertheless they did not heed the voice of their father, because the LORD desired to kill them" (I Samuel 2:22-25).

Eli's failure was that he did not restrain his sons from committing evil. In scolding Eli, God asks, "Why do you kick at My sacrifice and My offering which I have commanded in My dwelling place, and honor your sons more than Me, to make yourselves fat with the best of all the offerings of Israel My people?" (I Samuel 2:29).

Perhaps you are confused. After all, Eli did scold his sons. He told them they were doing wrong and that God would not be happy. But what is missing is any follow through. Eli spoke the right words, but then did nothing when his sons did not heed him. At a minimum, as high priest, he should have removed his sons from the priesthood. Their sins were worthy of a death sentence under the Law of Moses. But Eli was too soft, too easy toward his own children. The reality is as God charged, Eli honored his blood relations above God.

No doubt Eli loved his sons, but he did not love them enough to see that they did right in the eyes of God. Even when God told Eli that he and his sons would be punished for their sins, Eli merely acquiesced to God's will. "It is the LORD. Let Him do what seems good to Him" (I Samuel 3:18). Even knowing that doom was looming over his sons' heads and his own did not stir Eli enough to do anything about the problem.

You are doing the same thing as Eli. You told your daughter and the man she is sleeping with (I won't grace him with the word "fiance" since there is no ring and a date) that they had to be married in order to live in your home. So what did you do to back up your words? A few gentle reminders, but nothing so forceful or frequent that it might possibly appear to them as nagging. You let them in, when you said you would not. So who has the greater sin? The fornicators or the liar who is supporting their sinful life? (I know, "liar" is such a harsh word, but it is what you did.)

There is a reason Christ warned, "He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me" (Matthew 10:37).

You cannot force your daughter to do what is right. But you can do what is right. You have no obligation to support the fornication of two adults. You can put their things on the driveway this afternoon, change the locks on the doors, and tell them you won't support their sinful lifestyle any longer. If you want, you can offer to watch the children, who are innocent of their parents' sins, until they find a place to live; but in the meantime the adults will not be living under your roof.

Oh, and if they do get married, don't pay for the wedding. Encourage it with all your heart but don't make the ending of their sin a celebration that accepts their past.