Brother J / 2022-04-30
Several days ago I met a Chinese mother. Her ex-white husband and she are very worried and very sad. They said that their adolescent daughter has decided to have a sex change operation after reading a lot of LGBTQ information online. When the father failed in persuading her, he gave his daughter a slap on her back. Although it was not very hard, the daughter called the police. And then she was taken away from her family by the police and placed in a foster home, whose owners are a lesbian couple. The mother said with extreme regret: It would have been better for me to take the child to church earlier.
Teenagers normally experience curiosity and self-doubt about everything in life—including gender and relation sexually with other people. Thus, on the one hand, they need guidance and help, but on the other hand, their family environment, culture, and religious beliefs may make them feel insecure, ashamed, and difficult to talk about, so they turn to the Internet, their peers, or people who have similar behaviors for help. However, not only do these sources fail to provide biblical guidance, but they often present misleading information that is even more unbiblical.
Adolescents have a tendency to turn away from their parents and authority in order to explore and establish their own independent identity, including their gender or sex identity, which is often referred to as the adolescent rebellion period. Even the path that the misinformation points to can be one of the options to explore. But knowledgeable and experienced parents are often quick to see the negative consequences in the future and are anxious about it. Then they try to quickly reverse course and change their adolescents. However, many times, either because the parents have lost the trust and respect of the child, or because of their impatient and rough ways, they met with their children’s resistance. And then, their communication turned into quarrels and conflicts, which not only failed in achieving the desired effect, but also made the children more reluctant to accept the guidance of their parents and authority in their anger. And thus they moved further in the direction of misguidance.
Based on the above understanding, three principles from the Bible may be helpful to many parents (not limited to these three) so that they can be better prepared for such moments.
1. Bring your children to church, lead them to know the Lord, and follow the training of the Bible from an early age.
Many people are familiar with Proverbs 22:6 “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.”This scripture applies not only to training children in the way of Christ, but also to training them on the unbiblical paths. If unbiblical doctrines are allowed to be instilled in children from an early age, it should be much more difficult to guide them to the way of Christ when they become adults.
2. Parents do not divorce but carry up their cross so that their children can see an example of Christ’s disciple.
Malachi 2:15, in speaking of why God is not pleased with divorce, says that God wants Godly offspring. In other words, divorce makes it more difficult for the descendants to become godly. Marriage is a key target for Satan’s attack because by destroying it, he is more likely to destroy the descendants. Some Christian couples think that since there are so many difficulties between them, they might as well divorce because a life without quarrels is better for their children, but very probably this is a lie, as we know from Malachi 2:15. The Chinese understand that people will strive hard for survival when they are put in a situation without escape. Only when divorce is excluded from their options list and they have no third person to go with, will the two people be forced to make every effort to improve their relationship.
It is evident from the repeated failures of the apostles that the example of Christ’s disciples is an example of falling down, getting up again, and continuing on, not an example of no sinning or failing. When parents show the example of sinning and stumbling but regaining strength by the grace of Christ, it will undoubtedly increase the children’s trust in their parents and their faith and hope in Christ.
Even when we practice the two principles above, children may still make unexpectedly bad choices. At this point, we can consider the story of the prodigal son.
3. Relax and think about the example of the father of the prodigal son.
We may draw a few lessons from the story of the prodigal son in Luke 15:11-32. It was God, not the father, who turned the prodigal son’s heart and caused him to repent and confess his sin; the father did not deliberately hide the wrong choice of the younger son among his family and neighbors to save his own face; the prodigal son had no anger in his heart when he remembered his father in the pigsty; the father accepted and embraced the prodigal son before his repentance.
Besides, very often, when a child makes a wrong choice, people, including parents, think that there must be something wrong on the part of the parents. But the father was a loving father before the younger son became a prodigal son, so the younger son’s becoming a prodigal son had nothing to do with the father. Matthew 13:24-30 tells us that the enemy came and sowed the weeds rather than the owner of the field.
Therefore, let us not permit our brothers and sisters to stop meeting together to worship, but let us encourage one another (Hebrews 10:25), because our adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. (1 Pet. 5:8).