Bible Studies/grown child
My husband and I have a 24 year old daughter. She was raised in a Christian home, but not sure if she considers herself to be a Christian. She moved to NYC about 3 years ago, met a guy, moved in with the guy and then moved to Wisconsin. Now, they are moving here. They want to stay with us until they find a place. They were also here at Christmas - same kind of thing. We have a bedroom with twin beds. That is where they stayed then and where they will stay this time. There is no way I would not let them stay here unless God spoke audibly-I do not want a broken relationship with my daughter. They know we are having a really hard time with this, but ohh.... how we love our daughter. She has seen so many of our friends and family get divorced and even her grandfather is living with his woman friend now. She doesn't really see the value of marriage. We had read a previous letter you had written to a couple struggling with their daughters living arrangements, and felt like you gave a really good answer. I guess what I am asking is how to be Godly in a godless situation. Our poor kids in this generation getting so many mixed messages. We used to shun those who divorced and now that is accepted by most churches. We are now changing the definition of marriage to include same sex. And, our God is mocked wherever we go in public places. I would appreciate hearing anything you have to say and would be happy to answer any questions you might have. Thank you so much for your time. Julie
We appreciate your question and the opportunity to possibly help where we are able. :) It might be helpful to consider the concept of marriage apart from both the traditional Protestant and Catholic view of the past several hundred years, and from the increasingly common practice of disposable marriages.
The idea of a couple standing before a priest, minister, or a government official and going through a ceremony to become married is a fairly recent idea. It wasn't until the 1500's (5,500 years after Creation) that the Catholic church decided that a ceremony and a priest were necessary to validate a marriage between a man and a woman making the marriage official.
The first marriage was between Adam and Eve. God introduced Adam and Eve and the two consummated their union and God considered them 'married'. About 2,144 years later, Isaac took Rebekah into his mother's tent (Sarah died 3 years earlier) and "took Rebekah and she became his wife." (Gen. 24:67). No priest, no ceremony, no flowers, no wedding planner, no invitations, no paperwork, no government fees, and no lawyers writing pre-nupts.
The first miracle that the Bible mentions Christ performing, is at a wedding supper. This is a good example of how marriages have been announced and acknowledged for centuries, "Hey everyone, we are having a big party to celebrate the marriage of this man and this woman. Everyone come and help us celebrate!" It usually lasted for a week, or two if they were well off, during which guests would come and go.
Marriages were often formed to benefit two families, for power, for money as well as a number of different reasons aside from two people loving each other and wanting to spend the rest of their lives together. Sometimes love wasn't even a factor.
You asked how to be "Godly in a godless situation...". It is possible that your situation isn't really godless. If your daughter and her guy have made a commitment to each other, been faithful to each other and plan to stay together then God may already consider them to be married.
Having a government certificate saying that they are married or having an organized religion recognize that they are married is just part of what is acceptable and 'normal' in the world today. It has nothing to do with how God views a true marriage between a man and a woman.
Please understand that we are not saying that you should accept a purely casual relationship between your daughter and her guy as something that God approves of but you might want to explain the them that the modern concept of marriage can be much different than what God recognizes and that if they are committed to each other out of love and respect, treating each other as they would want God to treat them then in God's eyes they may already be married. God knows what is in their hearts.
It is very sad that mankind is trying to change the definition of marriage, something that God created as an example to us of our relationship to Him and His Son. It is to be a life-long relationship.
A young woman, recently divorced, ask me recently how my husband and I had stayed married for over 29 years. I didn't even have to think of an answer and just said "He is my best friend." The young woman looked at me with such surprise and shock on her face as though the idea had never occurred to her.
With the way this country and the world are headed it is going to be even more important that families learn to pull together and continue to care for each other, so you are correct in not wanting to alienate your daughter.
The best thing we can do for our children is to set the right example for them. Children imitate their parents, and do what they see, not what they are told. We can also ask God for wisdom and understanding in dealing with difficult situations as they may arise.
We can explain to our children that while we may not approve of some of their choices and there are consequences for making bad decisions, we will still always love them.
Every individual has made decisions in their lives that may not have been the best, or were really terrible. However, we know that if we truly repent that we can be forgiven for all sins.
This doesn't mean that the individual won't have to deal with the consequences of the bad decisions. Someone that has a casual sexual relationship may be forgiven by God when they repent but that person still has to deal with the emotional and physical effects of any casual relationship.
God is willing to forgive us, if and when we repent, but He isn't necessarily going to make everything all rosy when we sin. Those who commit adultery or fornication, and then repent, can be forgiven, but God's forgiveness doesn't turn them back into virgins.
We hope this has helped and if you have any questions please feel free to let us know.