Question:

Hi,

This past year my parents and I have not been on speaking terms. Though we live in the same house they do not want to speak to me, appalled, hurt and disappointed in everything they've found out over a year ago.

When I was 15, I broke my vows to stay pure. Followed by a lot of lying, partying, and drugs. My mom knew about some of these things, but my dad was in the dark. She prompted me to confess, but I wouldn't, fearing being kicked out and overall disappointing him. I tried repenting on my own, but it never lasted long. I knew what I was doing was wrong, but I could never kick bad habits and judgment until last year when an argument lead to my mom exposing everything I was hiding and all my sins were out in the open.

It wasn't until sitting down with my parents and watching different pastors shed light onto many topics of the sins I committed that one night led to me feeling such deep sorrow and understanding of everything I caused myself and God. I repented. But it wasn't easy. I had sex once after that and never again, being a year celibate now. I've slipped back and smoked marijuana once recently and confessed to my parents. Other than that I have quit drinking, dropped friends, no other drugs and absolutely dropped the idea of men if they aren't following God because of its importance to me.

But I've yet to "fix" (as my dad says) this relationship. He tells me about my broken promises, he tells me what God has spoken to him in order for everything to be back OK but throughout my journey of repenting and even those who know me testifying how I've changed, I've yet to come to a resolution. I feel a great change in who I was but all of it seems invalid when he and I speak. It really makes me feel lost and that maybe I'm not saved -- or changed. I've looked for help everywhere, I just don't understand. If what I have been experiencing (my change and growth) isn't from God then how else have I been able to see the wrong in my sins? But if I am with God, how is it my heart hasn't allowed me to find the resolution, the fix, the sign to my father that it is OK to trust me, to talk to me?


Answer:

There was a man in the church at Corinth who committed a shocking sin -- he was having sex with his stepmother (I Corinthians 5:1). Paul heavily scolded the church in Corinth because, while they knew this man was sinning, they did nothing. Perhaps they were telling themselves, "At least he is going to church, so he might change." They were ordered to withdraw from the man (I Corinthians 5:4-13).

A year later Paul wrote a second letter, where we learn that the church had withdrawn from the man. "This punishment which was inflicted by the majority is sufficient for such a man, so that, on the contrary, you ought rather to forgive and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one be swallowed up with too much sorrow" (II Corinthians 2:6-7). What Paul is saying that in their zeal to do the right thing, it again became the wrong thing because they would not show forgiveness to the man when he changed. Jesus points out, "For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses" (Matthew 6:14-15).

Your father is wrong because he is looking for something that is beyond what God taught. He wants God to tell him personally and directly, which God said 2,000 years ago that He wasn't going to do any more (Hebrews 12:1-2; I Corinthians 13:8-10). The Bible is God's complete guide for us and no additional revelation is needed (II Peter 1:2-4; II Timothy 3:16-17; Jude 3).

Unfortunately this isn't something you can point out to your parents because it will come across as self-serving because you benefit if they listen to God's teachings. Perhaps you can talk with a religious leader that your dad respects about this and see if he can point out what he is doing wrong.

Meanwhile, you have to understand that you do what is right -- not because it pleases your parents or some other person. You do what is right because it is what God wants and you know it is the best thing for you.

Thank you, Mr. Hamilton.

This has truly made me feel as though I'm not crazy on my walk with God. I can relate to Paul's instructions about "lest perhaps the one be swallowed up with too much sorrow." I use to cry and contemplate taking my life because of such confusion between my changing heart and my parents. I've now stopped such tears and started focusing more on God and His guidance for this situation. My father is a man of God and has said he has gotten word from God to not forgive until I fix the situation and even says other people have "fixed it" faster. I'm afraid there's no religious leader to go to. I appreciate the word and response!

God bless

Even good parents can make mistakes. Your father is wrong in this matter, but perhaps one day he will learn. Meanwhile, you focus on living righteously. I'm glad you are doing better. Continue walking down that path and continue studying your Bible because it will guide you when life gets difficult.