Q. My daughter, though she claims to be a Christian, is living with her boyfriend. My spirit grieves when I visit her and my two grandchildren. If I follow I Corinthians 5:11, I would have to disassociate myself from her altogether! I want to please the Lord and not compromise my faith yet be there for my daughter. What should I do?
Carlene Breen, Baldwinville, Massachusetts
A. In this complex situation, the first thing to remember is that you must continue to love and pray for your daughter. Secondly, keep your eyes on the goal: you are trying to help her return to honoring God's standards. In I Corinthians 5:3-5 and 2 Corinthians 2:5-11, we see Paul's method in action; he applies enough discipline to motivate a person to rethink their behavior and turn, but not so much to crush them with despair.
It doesn't seem that disassociating from your daughter would have the desired effect, and the harm to your grandchildren would be severe. I would imagine that the most persuasive thing you can do is communicate, even wordlessly, that this situation saddens you. Not that you disapprove or worry, but that it grieves you deeply.
Don't be a nag, but don't hide your displeasure either. It is likely you can't conceal this anyway.
When given the opportunity to speak to her, be prepared to lovingly show your daughter from God's Word why this situation is not pleasing to the Lord. Her awareness of your loving concern may gradually awaken something in her and wear away her defenses like water against a stone.
Frederica Mathewes-Green is the author of The Illumined Heart (Paraclete Press).
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