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Prodigal Problems

Our adult daughter is pregnant out of wedlock and has no plans to marry her boyfriend. What should we do?

Both of my children made professions of faith when they were small, and then again as teens. My husband and I just found out that our adult daughter is pregnant out of wedlock and has no plans to marry the father (her boyfriend). My son is so hurt and angered by his sister's behavior that he's stopped speaking to her. We're fearful for my daughter's future and the future of our family. Please tell me there's hope.

—Anne, via e-mail

It's heartbreaking when our children wander from the truth they've been taught, make foolish choices, or willfully walk in disobedience to God. Their choices not only negatively affect them, but everyone around them. Sometimes we can see how these kids got off on the wrong path; other times it completely blindsides us. As Ruth Bell Graham observed, God Himself is a perfect Father and many of his sons and daughters are prodigals. The good news is that over the years, many of those prodigals have found their way home. There is hope.

Since both of your children are grown, your responsibility in this situation is different from a parent whose "wayward" child is still living at home. Your challenge is to find a way to forgive your daughter and maintain open communication with her so that you can lovingly draw her back to a solid footing in her relationship with Christ. You want to help her get her life back on track for her sake, as well as that of your future grandchild. It's tough to know how to show unconditional love without appearing to condone her behavior. Pray for wisdom! Talk with your husband about what kind of help and support you're willing to offer your daughter and what things might cross the line into alleviating the consequences (enabling her or rewarding her for her poor choices).

Keep the lines of communication open with your son as well. Try to help him understand that forgiveness doesn't mean we approve of someone's sinful behavior. It means we choose not to hold it against them, just as God chooses not to hold our sin against us. Remind him of the parable of the Prodigal Son in Luke 15:11-32. God's heart is always to see prodigals and their families reconciled.

Christin Ditchfield is the host of the syndicated radio program Take It To Heart, and the author of The Three Wise Women: A Christmas Reflection (Crossway).

Read more articles that highlight writing by Christian women at ChristianityToday.com/Women

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