My heart is broken by my son. After all my prayers and Christian upbringing, he is going to marry a non-believer divorcee from another culture. I see the prospective in-laws’ background, culture, worldview, etc. are very different from our own, so this marriage may face severe problems. I have tried all ways to warn him, even threatened to disown him, all to no avail. My dream of passing on the blessings of a Christian family to the next generation is shattered. Should we boycott the wedding to make a stand on our Christian principles?
Dear Heartbroken Mother,
I sympathise with you to see your son ignoring the God’s ways. But you need not feel guilty as you’ve done all you could. Realise he is an adult now and you have to let him go to make his own decisions and bear the consequences. In the Old Testament, Eli and Samuel had sons who departed from God’s ways. As to your wanting to take a public stand by boycotting his wedding, it will likely result in a bad start for in-law relationships and definitely worsen your relationship with your son and his bride.
May I make some suggestions?
Firstly, be aware that mothers usually feel that no girl is good enough for their son. Are any of your expectations unrealistic?
Secondly, you may disapprove of his decisions but you can still accept and love him. Think of the father in Jesus’ parable of the prodigal son. After all the son had done, the father still extended unconditional love. This is the godly way.
Thirdly, you need to rid yourself of the harmful anger and bitterness in your heart. Hebrews 12:15 says, “See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.” This poison will destroy your relationship with God and others.
You need to confess your anger and ask God to forgive you. Then you need to forgive your son. You will not be able to do this in the natural but you have God’s supernatural power to help, so ask Him for supernatural grace and strength to do it. Having obeyed Jesus’ instructions to release forgiveness and receive forgiveness from Him, you will be able to carry out godly solutions to the situation.
By your love, you will let your son know that although you disagree and disapprove of his actions, you still love and accept him. Notice that ‘approve’ and ‘accept’ are two different things. You don’t approve of what he does but you can accept and regard him as precious and dear.
Jesus commanded us to love even our enemies, so how much more your own son.
I remember how my parents must have been apprehensive about my marrying Tek, who was taking me away to a remote village of Melaka far from my comfortable upbringing in Hongkong. His family’s dialect, culture, background were totally foreign to ours.
Being influential, well-connected, long-time residents in Hongkong, my parents could have helped Tek to establish his medical career in Hongkong. My mother did not oppose; instead, she made positive moves to win over Tek and the in-laws in the hope that they would treat me well.
When she visited Melaka, she would bring a lot of presents for them and when they went to Hongkong she treated them royally. The goodwill created in the family helped our marriage. So do your best to bring goodwill and harmony into the family. It will benefit everyone.
To go or not?
By attending the wedding, are you compromising your Christian principles? No. You have already made your stand clear. Now, use Christian principles to unite the family. After the wedding, continue to maintain a loving relationship with his new family. Continue to intercede for their salvation and sanctification. You are the missionary to bring in God’s love and they are your mission field. Regard this as His assignment to you.
Asian Beacon: Apr – Jun 2018 (Vol 50 #2, p46)