Question:

Hi,

I would firstly like to thank you for answering so many questions as your web site has indeed helped me in many of my battles with my walk with Christ. Just a little background: I am a 20 year old Christian who happened to stumble onto your web site several years ago. It's amazing how God could use someone from the other end of the world to help out people. God was gracious to us as our entire family (except my younger sister) are baptized, acknowledging Christ is our Lord and Saviour.

It wasn't till recently I was told by my mother in regards to my father's issues. I had a recent conversation with her and it turns out he was having affairs with his colleagues. This did not just occur once but she said this happened many times even before my birth. Note that my parents were not Christians until about ten years ago. During our conversation she told me how she came to realized my father was cheating on her. After numerous attempts, she eventually succeeded in locating his text messages, Facebook messages, etc. and read messages which indicated actions of adultery. Time after time, she was anxious and disappointed, but my mother would always forgive him for breaking the marriage covenant. My mother loves my father, so much that at times she forgets Christ should be first in her life rather than her husband. So every time my father sins against God and my mother would always forgive him.

But since this is a constant sin my father commits, my mother became severely distressed and now suffers from depression. I spoke to her reminding her that the one she should face toward is not my earthly father but our Father in heaven, the one who knows all with His never failing love for us. But I understand that it is not easy for her to change her mind-set.

My father is a hard-hearted man. It is already a miracle that he acknowledged Christ and bought himself to accept that he is a sinner. Unfortunately, he does not read the Bible regularly and, therefore, tends to fill holes with his own knowledge as opposed to what God really said. My father is a smart, clever, and strongly opinionated man. My mother had once confronted my father with his adulterous actions and brought up the messages that she had read. Not only did my father deny having those messages, but blamed my mother for being paranoid and invading his privacy.

As a Christian son, I'm not sure how to handle this situation. How should I tell my mother that Christ should be her first love and not my father? Should I confront my father? May I cry out for your prayers?

Thank you very much for reading this. I look forward to your reply.


Answer:

What your mother did was wrong. A parent should not involve her children in her marital problems. Don't misunderstand what I'm saying. Your father is also very much in the wrong, but I want you to understand that your mother never sought to solve her problem with your father. She has tried to force him to change, but when he doesn't she claims to forgive him and continues on. Now that you are basically an adult, she is trying to recruit your allegiance to her side against your father. Again, I suspect that she is hoping that you'll pressure him to change so that she doesn't have to do something about the situation. What this boils down to is gossip because she is taking her problem to a person who technically is not in a position to solve the problem. (It is very awkward for a child to correct his parents.)

This would be different if she was telling you these things to explain why she was leaving your father, but that is not what she is doing. So to your mother, I would like you to insist that she goes and talk to the leadership in your church about her problems and not bring them to you. You can tell her that if she is certain that her husband is continually committing adultery that you won't hold it against her if she decides she must divorce him. What you have to make clear is that being her child you are not her counselor or complaint board. It is not right for her to try to turn her children against their father.

And do remember that you only have her word about these matters. It is very hard to remain objective in emotional matters like these. She may be absolutely right, but I'm assuming that you have not seen this evidence of an on-going affair and you don't know your father's side. "The first one to plead his cause seems right, until his neighbor comes and examines him" (Proverbs 18:17). Because you are so closely involved, I don't suggest trying to get the issue resolved. Get someone who is in a more neutral position to work with them. If your mother says she doesn't know who to talk to, then find someone and suggest the person to her.

Meanwhile, let's assume that your mother is right and that your father is committing adultery, even after he became a Christian. Keep watch for evidence of the problem -- evidence that you know for yourself and not that comes from just your mother. If you do see clear evidence of him committing adultery, do not tell your mother. Talk to your father directly about what you have seen. If he won't listen to you, then you find some older men at your church and ask them to come sit with you as you talk to your dad again about the evidence that your found. If he still denies it, then the church will get involved. "Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother. But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that 'by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.' And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector" (Matthew 18:15-17). What your mother decides to do about the matter is her business. Your job is to turn your father away from his sins if at all possible.

In this way you are helping both of your parents without getting between them.