This site uses cookies to provide you with more responsive and personalized service and to collect certain information about your use of the site.  You can change your cookie settings through your browser.  If you continue without changing your settings, you agree to our use of cookies.  See our Privacy Policy for more information.

Question and Answer

I am a Christian teenager wondering what to do when one of my parents, who claims to be a Christian, is living a sinful lifestyle. My parent is loving and provides for me but has made many life choices that are biblically wrong while continuing to use Christian language and talk about Jesus in warm, personal ways. Is it my place
to speak up?
This is a painful position to be in, one I have seen often in my teaching career: young adults who follow God obediently while being let down by their parental models. That you have remained true to God is a work of grace.

Certainly you should continue to pray faithfully. While you should honor your parent for what he or she does well, I think there is a place for respectfully expressing your sadness over his or her choices and the way those affect you. Ideally, it would be good if a Christian adult whom your parent respects could point out these inconsistencies between proclamation and practice.

We should remember that Jesus taught that honoring parents was no excuse for failing to honor God. Following Him requires putting Him above all others, including mothers and fathers. That may mean that you cannot join your parent in certain activities, opinions, or discussions. And if his or her lifestyle runs any danger of weakening your Christian resolve, it might be necessary to separate yourself physically from the situation. Finally, if possible, find older Christians to parent you spiritually, someone with whom you can talk through the dilemmas you encounter and the decisions you make.

BY Dr. Rosalie de Rosset

Dr. Rosalie de Rosset has been teaching at Moody Bible Institute in the Communications Department for over five decades. She is occasionally featured on Moody Radio. Rosalie is a published author, respected speaker, and talented writer. She lives on the northside of Chicago, a city she enjoys for its natural beauty and multi-faceted art offerings.

Find Questions and Answers by Month