The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against the father; the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother; the mother in law against her daughter in law, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. (Luke 12:53)
I celebrated my 71st year of life this past week, and I must admit that it was the worst birthday of my life. It ended with a decision I have mulled over for many years, but only now have I decided to follow through with it. I decided to sever communications between my sons and myself in order to (hopefully) relieve myself of the heartache of strained relationships and the knowledge that my sons are lost and, unless the Lord intervenes, bound for eternal damnation.
Some may criticize my decision and think of me weak as both a father and a Christian for not persevering in prayer for my lost sons. Those that think that may be right; however, I would ask that you not be too quick to judge without knowing that with which I have contended for over 25 years. This was not a snap decision done in a moment of anger, but one that has been carefully weighed over many years. It should also be understood that I am not closed to the possibility of reconciliation later on, if the Lord delays His coming. I have not “disowned” my sons. How could I? They carry my DNA. I have only decided to break off any further contact with them and turn them over to the Lord and let Him deal with them.
I do not want to go into detail as to what brought this to a head. Basically it had to do with a post I made on Facebook with which they vehemently disagreed. They both seized the opportunity to berate, disrespect, and humiliate me on social media. It is not the first time this has occurred, but in past times the offense was easily overlooked considering the source. Not this time.
In the process of making my decision, I remembered our Lord’s account of the Prodigal Son who disrespected his father and separated himself from him. It occurred to me that the father did not chase after the son, but rather waited patiently for the son to “come to himself” and return of his own volition. That is what I have decided to do.
I know many Christian parents these days are experiencing the same thing. We are living in the “last days” as we wait for Jesus’ return to take us home. Jesus predicted this would happen. “Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division: For from henceforth there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three. The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against the father; the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother; the mother in law against her daughter in law, and the daughter in law against her mother in law” (Luke 12:51-53). Certainly, many can relate.
Mark records Jesus’ words in the Olivet Discourse like this: “Now the brother shall betray the brother to death, and the father the son; and children shall rise up against their parents, and shall cause them to be put to death. And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved” (Mark 13:12-13, emphasis mine). Of course, Jesus referred to the time of Tribulation, but what we see now is the beginning of these things.
The Apostle Paul predicted the general character of people in the last days. “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, [without self-control], fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth” (2 Timothy 3:1-7, emphasis mine). Those characteristics that I emphasized describe my sons. That last sentence especially fits them to a tee. My oldest son graduated from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary with a Masters Degree in Family Counseling, and later declared himself to be an atheist. My youngest son dropped out of high school but is self-educated; he is actually highly intelligent, and he considers himself quite the intellectual. Both of them consider me a rube for taking the Bible seriously and for my faith in God. Although I never push religion on them, they know where I stand and they resent that I will not move from my opinions. Truthfully, I am very flexible in my opinions, but God’s Word is not my opinion, and that is what they do not seem to understand.
As I said, I am not alone in this dilemma – torn between the love of God and the love of children – but I decided long ago to heed the words of Jesus. “And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it” (Matthew 10:36-39, emphasis mine). Personally, I prefer to be worthy of Jesus even if it means losing my sons. Sadly, that includes grandchildren too.
The time is short. Jesus may come for His Church – His Bride – at any moment. There is no time or place for divided loyalties. I choose Christ!