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Maintaining Hope When Your Kids Leave the Faith

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine
The Truth Network Radio
December 16, 2020 1:00 am

Maintaining Hope When Your Kids Leave the Faith

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine

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December 16, 2020 1:00 am

If it looks like your son or daughter has abandoned their childhood faith, don't lose hope. Dave & Ann Wilson, and Bob Lepine say, you can remain a steady influence in their lives, but it will require some intentional adjustments in areas of disagreement like faith or politics.

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Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine

Having a great relationship with your adult children may mean there are some things you choose not to talk much about your stables. We realize are some topics we just don't bring up anymore unless they do. And even if they do relate sure what other because we differ and I seen as we started to go there because I was nave. I bring it up. They came over next because go there again we can we can punch a little bit into the darkness you know and finally some lights to come and I saw this very close and and so I realize all I need to be gentle, humble, love them there with them in for a like crazy and then let God work and maybe it'll come up later, but I'm not going to be the one, often initiated a more this is family life today.

Our hosts are David and Wilson I'm bobbing you can find us if you have a conversation with our adult children about certain topics that can be very important that we know what to say what not to say when deciding how to save all of those things will talk more about that today statements and welcome to family life to. Thanks for joining us where a spending time this week listening to a presentation we made a while back with a group of parents moms and dads who have adult kids talking about how we love and pray for and interact with our adult kids because sometimes that can get.

And the only message is special with the holidays right on the corner because were to be together.

Many of us are and sadly there to be some families that aren't together because they've broken relationships either because they're not in the same place spiritually or because something else has divided them in this year.

Politics is divided. A lot of families who said were not getting together with you because we don't see eye to eye on Paul and I mean it's sad that it's real.

I mean, it's happening. I could see it happen in our family lived. Opinions, beliefs are really really strong to that. So to be under navigate that and love your kids and be loved your kids I like eggs. Not easy. I like the idea of building bridges the gap, there's always something that we can cross that bridge on and relationship were a dive in and listen to the last part of our conversation on this subject. But before we do a quick reminder to our listeners were asking you to prayerfully consider making a urine contribution to family life to your donations at your end are vital and the good news is this year.

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It's changed our life hopefully is changing you and your family and your legacy and that didn't just happen.

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This is a an invitation but I'm looking you in the eye and say enjoy me when you said join me, Philippines or donors to family. My middle sons or daughters to family life that we we make donations and the reason we make donations is because we believe that this ministry is having an impact in the lives of people. I remember Dennis Rainey the first time I heard him say the greatest evangelistic tool of the future is Mary Kim.

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It's Jesus and how he transforms our lives, our marriages are families and we really hope that you'll join us because we want to continue doing that you can donate you can call one 800 FL today to make a urine donation and keep in mind your donation is can be matched dollar for dollar, so there's no better time than right now to call or to go online and make a donation for family life today and we do hope to hear from you what working up continue with the presentation we been listening to this week where Dave and I am and I have been talking to parents of adult kids about our relationship with our adult kids and one of the questions that had come up is what we do. If our kids are walking with the Lord. We're not sure whether they really even know the Lord at this point and that's where we jump in and this conversation probably doing what they never never return. Well, as long as there's breath. There's hope and if they never return. You trust the Lord that the Lord is in control. We we don't know about what happens in the moments before death. We we can't presume here's what we know God is good all the time and he is in control and we trust in him. We walk by faith, we also have to be on guard against self-righteousness in our lives here.

This is where I see a lot of parents who will they just put this wedge and it's like we are not within this when you live this way your kids can look good so what about you I can point out the hypocrisy in your life. We gotta be very careful. This is not the I'm better than you.

If your kids get that message they will run from you instead it's gotta be looked on, just as messed up as you are. I know where to go when I need grace and help. II need the gospel just like you need the gospel and a gotta keep coming back to the two verses that come to mind for me when I think about kids who are off in in even if they profess faith.

The first is Galatians 6 verse one that says if anyone is caught in a trespass, you who are spiritual you're walking with the Lord you should restore that one. So the goal is not shame its restoration. The goal is to bring them back with a spirit of what the word gentleness and then interesting. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.

So that means there's humility and gentleness. The words we talked about before. In the midst of this Galatians to keep it for your kids is off him in the weeds you go seek to restore them with gentleness. If you can't be gentle you're not ready. Go try to restore your kids okay and then the other woman comes to mind.

This is second Timothy two the Lord's servant. This is all of us were walking with the Lord must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach patiently enduring evil correcting opponents with gentleness to see a theme here God may perhaps grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth. They may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil after being captured by him to do his will. So I think gentleness is the operative word here. When we got a kid who is often the we write and then what you do if you got a child who professes faith, but their living out their faith differently. They go to a church agency, I would never go to that church got the kids like that right. They picked a church that is not the one you pick and you know what we do with that action we fix them suddenly correct them and I think this is where we got to keep in mind the words we were talking about ability gentleness, but we also have to we have to know what is the difference between what I call for spring issues and second ring is there are some issues that are nonnegotiable's when it comes to the Christian faith.

You don't bend on their other things where we allow freedom with our brothers and sisters and we might not agree so hot of the spiritual gifts operate in our day. We got differing opinions on that right here in this room right but we can get along and love one another. So can we do that with our kids on those secondary and tertiary issues, and I would be a first ring is Utah first ring issue is that they believe there are many ways to God, not just Jesus is not the only way we have to come back and say the Bible is really clear. So now you're going outside the Bible for wisdom and that would be an issue that would say there's not unity of the spirit around that.

So what happened if your kids come home and talk comes about at the table and bear on their there and you're like, no, Jesus is the only way you just avoid that conversation, gentleness is the operative word. So I eyed and that's a joy go just share with me how you came to that conclusion.

I'd start asking questions. That's really interesting because as I read the Bible and come to a different conclusion. So how did you come to the conclusion. Well, I read this book by this guy and he says that Lego, so what you do or what is he do the guy in the book. What is he do with John 14 six on the way the truth and life and becomes the father but by me.

How do you reconcile that in your own time and I'm curious.

I'm I'm not trying to fix him and I'm not saying what you know John 14 six says this just your smart child. What will you do with the first and then after some questions I go that's interesting Emily to think about that some more and just back off and let the thing breathe a little bit let them know they were heard, and we may pick it up two weeks from now or or who knows when we get a chance to pick it up, be very careful and not blow up the bridge. The relationship bridge so I can never have another conversation with someone about it's not theology is more politics is a big one, or just morality or cultural differences with your kids. Yes a look at the slide. This says this is evangelical millennial's in their views on on their elders so favoring same-sex marriage, older evangelicals, only 23% of of your born before 8123% would favor same-sex marriage if your millennial it's 45%. Homosexuality should be accepted by society. 32 verses 51. I mean, there's a gap in their and and some of you know this is your kids are on different sides of this equation and as we've had these conversations with our kids who are trying to figure it out for themselves and come up with their own way of embracing this are thinking about will have the conversation and I I want to make sure that they know what I believe and why I believe it and then I want to hear what they believe and why they believe it. I want to demonstrate some respect for that. And once we've had that conversation and what kind are clear on where we are on that were not to revisit that every time their home for Thanksgiving dinner right there may be a time in the course of the year when I would say I just read this article that I thought was really interesting.

I'd love your feedback, and I'll send it to and it's something that would represent my viewpoint that I know would conflict with their viewpoint. I'm just curious what what your take on this article is that it's always helpful when it's 1/3 person whose arguing your case rather than you are right. So I did things like that.

And I've also found very careful with that. It's important and you can do it strategically, but if they start seeing that happen every week it drops in their email right yeah and weave and I said it earlier as a joke, but we realize are some topics we just don't bring up anymore unless they they do.

And even if they do, or like you sure you want to go there because we differ in its not help Dave and weave and I seen as we started to go there because I was nave. I bring it up came over next to go there again we can we can punch a little bit into the darkness now, and finally some light skin, and I saw the spirit closing and so I realize all I need to be gentle, humble, love them.

Bear with them in pray like crazy and then let God work and maybe it'll come up later, but I'm not going to be the one often do initiated a more anything and make a lot more complicated is when life come into the picture we have found that we go there in conversations. I'm fascinated by the way his mind works. He's very intelligent anyways has these great thoughts and ideas he reads a lot and so we had these great conversations sometimes they can get even louder.

We really appreciate one another and how are thinking were very truthful and honest, humble and gentle while he gets married and his wife see that having this conversation and see so distraught. She's walking around the house and prep in my trunk because I can't do this like what happening because of her background when he had those conversations with her parents. It was always this is how you should believe and so she gets worked out and CJ are things like this all the time is done. It just changes the dynamics when you have your in-laws come and care you not there maybe some of you in the room where were not in agreement on issues of gender and sexuality amended the country is divided I would presume that everybody on the likely marriage for his his thinking like I'm thinking about about marriage or about sexuality. I want to honor you want to hear your news.

I want to be able to interact with you about that and I want at the end of the time that we would part and you would go, we don't agree but at least there's respect their I was talking to a young woman recently and she hears the story she related to me. She said my cousin is getting married to her partner, same-sex marriage, my mom has said she's not going to the wedding. My older sister sent an email to all of the siblings and said we need to confront mom because she's a homophobe in a big and then the sister said, and I presume all of you are going to the wedding to and the sister said and I'm never letting mom watch my kids again by yourself. This is the world that that were limited and that the younger sister who'd gotten this email is reading this and go on were about to have a fractured polarized family all around this issue because one person in the family has really made this the litmus test of whether I can be friends with you. I don't want my kids to think that there is a a cultural, political, or even a biblical litmus test that puts them outside of a relationship with me because I don't want. I want to be able have relationships with unbelievers or people who think differently and me even if I'm related to the right. So I think that's important for us. So you got your daughter Amy's comments about you in her book coming out or just came out it's really beautiful talk about that are our daughter Amy is our oldest daughter very bright. Jesus written a second book just come out and she sent me the manuscript ahead of time that she sent all of her siblings and all of us said that if you have time, I'd love for you to read the manuscript of love your thoughts on it so I read the manuscript first. I wrote her and I said how would you like me to engage with your manuscript, what would you like me to read it critically and would you like comments like I would do if it was any other author. I mean, I know you're not just any other author.

I'm your dad. You're my daughter so comments for me are going to come differently than they come from a professional colleague right and she said no, dad your gloves off talk about.

I'm still to be gentle and humble in doing this, but I read her manuscript of the stuff in there. I didn't agree with, and so I wrote her and I would say the way you express this on page 42.

Sounds like what you're saying is this, there are gonna be people who are to read it this way there to think what you believe is this is that how you want to come across is that really what you're trying to say at about nine pages of notes gone through it. I mean, I sent her a whole ton of stuff on this and just said if I made garden-variety evangelical. This is how it's going get rid by evangelicals. Amy always had a pretty place we always had a good relationship been able to block dialogue. It's always been good, but I went and asked how you want me to interact with it and and then I interacted with it and I sent it to her and she said got it.


And that's the last conversation we had about okay and that's okay. I didn't go back and I didn't check and say will did she fix that part I talked about in here right she asked.

She invited I was a consultant I gave her my thoughts. We still have a great relationship, even though their stuff in the book that I agreed and go, you think that she knows that good things so I had chances to affirm stuff in that as well.

When I got a copy of the book she sent us a copy of the book and she said she didn't say anything so I open the book I start looking through it and I get to the dedication page and it's dedicated to me so I called her and I said thank you sweet dedication thank you for that and she said well she said thanks for for a the way we've interacted on this and then she wrote a blog post where she announced to the world. My book is coming out. I dedicated my dad and I want to tell you why.

Here's what she said.

She said people always ask her off and asked me to write about my relationship with my parents, especially my dad.

They want to know how we remain close when we are not politically aligned and when archaeological inclinations diverge more every year and we are both publicly vocal Christian. The answer is grace. The rest of the answer is complicated.

What she says. Here's part of it when I was a teenager.

Dad never discouraged my questions and never required my agreement when I wrote an essay for an ACLU sponsored essay contest about whether schools should be allowed to search students lockers course they should.

I came to a different conclusion. Then dad came to, but he respected my work and the argument I made and I did.

I just didn't agree with the conclusion she came number two, she says that's a fairly impersonal example probably safe to say that part of our solution is that there are a number of things we simply don't talk about or at least we don't rehash over and over again. I think this has a lot to do with our mutual respect. We work to believe the best about each other's decision-making processes and intellectual integrity even more than that. It's the result of something. Dad taught me when I was very young in the essentials, unity and doubtful matters. Liberty, in all things, charity you've heard that before. Right. And that's back to first ring second ring third ring if dad and I were disagreeing about a point in the Nicene Creed that would be something to talk about. But in everything else. Liberty and surety must ring number three.

She said dad read me stories nearly every night of my childhood, Narnia, Betsy, tasty little women. Rebecca of Sunny Brook Farms at the back of the Northwind. These worries open my eyes to a world that was wider and more complicated. The one I knew so far, and he shared music and film with me giving me Simon and Garfunkel and Joni Mitchell. Okay, I'm sorry of a child of the 60s right and taking me to see the movie I this is a longer story.

I took her to see good Will hunting her senior year in high school. Even though I read online that it had the most F bombs in it of any movie that had come out so far and she's a senior in high school.

She says can I go see this everybody in my class is going to see it on.

Think in six months from now. She's a college she's going to see any movie she wants. So I said okay let's go together in about 20 minutes and I'm going I should grab for anything and then I thought know your coach is this one you are you gonna put venture for this so we watch the whole thing decently took me to see good Will hunting when I was a senior in high school because there were redemptive themes and art and beauty bound us together as much as theology or biology. She said he taught me this number four.

He taught me that people would fail me.

But Jesus wouldn't so when Christian leaders disappointed me.

I was shocked, but not that shocked because I knew what my foundation was and most of all she said I'd never fermented have any reason to doubt that he loves me unconditionally or that I'm his favorite child. Sorry everyone I know I'll tell you this with our kids every time I was with them individually, I would say to them the listen. You're my favorite, don't tell your siblings told all of them and they knew it got to be the family joke so she's playing the family joke card, but I think there was something inside of them were there they can. I think maybe I really am, and I wanted them to believe that right. That is really beautiful, beautiful to hear those words again as I was sharing it with those families. That's what we long for now. I mean I was teary listening to that.

That's what every parent to read, so I call my boys and say what you write something they haven't written well again we know how hard this is for parents and for a lot of adult children, I'd encourage you to download the entire workshop that we did.

The audio is available on our and maybe listen to a podcast that we did several months ago with our friend Jim Burns. He's written a book called doing life with your adult children. The subtitle we love the subtitled. Keep your mouth shut and the welcome mat out the link to the podcasts is available on our you can also order the book from us online. Once again the website is family life if you'd like to call to order Jim's book, the number is one 800 F. L.

Today, 1-800-358-6329 that's one 800 F as in family L as in life, and then the word today.

Hey we we have some Christmas gifts.

We would like to send you today we been inviting family life to the listeners to join us here at year-end to make as generous a donation as you can make to help support the ongoing work of this ministry.

If you're able to help with the year-end donation. We'd love to send you a copy of my book.

Love, like you mean it. That's all about how to apply the biblical understanding of love that we find in first Corinthians 13 to a marriage relationship.

What we can do to increase the love we have for one another in marriage would also like to send you a flash drive that has more than 100 of the best of family life to day from 28 years programs with Dennis and Barbara Rainey with David and Wilson guests. We've had on over the years.

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Christmas gifts for you when you make a donation today and the good news is we mentioned earlier, when you donate your donation is can be matched dollar for dollar up to a total of $2 million. So your donation goes even further here at year-end when you donate today. You can donate or call one 800 FL today to donate. Thanks in advance for whatever you're able to do. We appreciate you and we hope you can join us again tomorrow when we're going to hear a powerful story of a young woman whose life and worldview was radically altered when she was confronted with the claims of Christ while she was a student at Oxford, Carolyn Weber joins us tomorrow.

Hope you can be here with us. For that I want to thank our engineer today.

Keith Lynch along with our entire broadcast production team on behalf of our hosts David and Wilson and Bob Lapine see you back next time for another edition of family life today. Family life to day is a production of family life of Little Rock, Arkansas. Accrue ministry help for today hope for tomorrow

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