The parents of Christopher Yuan (a professor from the Moody Bible Institute) recently spoke in the Harvest Church of New York about how God had guided them during the harsh period of waiting for their prodigal son Christopher Yuan to come home. They told us that we must first have the right attitude, and then to glorify God in our lives.
Christopher Yuan was once a homosexual and drug user and dealer, but he ultimately became a professor in a theological institute. His change was closely tied to his parents' fervent and persistent prayers. His parents told us during their sharing, that when the prodigal son left home, the parents were the ones who suffered the most. In order to face the son's repeated stabbings to their hearts, God first led them to learn the right attitude to face this situation, and corrected their four false perspectives.
The Four False Perspectives on raising children
1. Rebellion in children is not our doing.
The father of Christopher Yuan said that many parents feel guilty when children rebel, and feel that rebellion is their doing. These parents will continually condemn themselves and condemn their spouses. Even church members who see these rebellious children think that it is the fault of the parents for not teaching them well. He said, in Genesis, even though Adam and Eve's father was the almighty God with only one commandment for them to obey, Adam and Eve still betrayed God. Although he may still think, what if I have done just a bit better; but Philippians 3:13 encourages them to forget the past and do the right thing close at hand.
2. Rebellion in children is not something that parents can resolve.
The mother of Christopher Yuan said that in the past she felt that she could accomplish anything if she put her mind to it. But when it came to her child's rebellion, she discovered that she was powerless. When she asked her child to choose between homosexuality and home, her child chose homosexuality without hesitation, and left home. She was also faced with a breaking marriage and felt extremely powerless and desperate. Christopher's father then quoted Luke 17 to illustrate that when the prodigal son left, the father did not run after him, instead told everyone to have tolerance and to leave it up to God during the period of his child's rebellion. If the parents interfere further, not only will the child become more bitter and rebellious, but also will hinder the work of God.
3. Our children do not belong to us.
Christopher's mother said in the past she thought that her child was her life, and her life revolved around her child, and in time idolized her child. Christopher's father then used the example of Abraham and Isaac to tell the parents to put their children on the altar, to give them up to God, and to submit to God's plan.
4. Children submit to God completely.
Christopher Yuan had been arrested for dealing drugs, and his mother said during her sharing, that as his parents, they appeared in court not to ask for a lesser sentence, but to let their child receive a sentence appropriate enough to make him obey God. She used this example to persuade the audience not to spoil their children. Christopher's father then used the story of how King David did not teach his son Absalom who sinned by murdering, which ultimately led to him rebelling against King David, to illustrate that the main reason behind the child's rebellion is because the child does not obey and submit to God completely.
God not only let Christopher's parents understand the appropriate attitude towards the problem of a rebellious child, but also taught them to glorify God in their lives. They shared the four ways of glorifying God in life.
The Four Ways of glorifying God
1. Glorify God through our own brokenness.
Christopher's parents said the not only do children sin, parent also bear many sins. If we pray to God for forgiveness of our sins with a repentant and contrite heart, and let the children see how Christ lives in you, the children's lives will also change accordingly.
2. Glorify God through daily spiritual exercise.
Christopher's father said that questions such as whether or not children can see God in their parents, whether or not parents have a living relationship with God, and whether or not parents are newly formed beings are very influential to children. He urged the audience to not be Sunday Christians, but to let their children see how their parents are renewed. Christopher's mother then urged the audience to use the changes in their own spiritual lives to testify that children's lives can be enlightened through the change in their parents.
3. Glorify God through marriage.
Christopher's father said that Christ and the church is a relationship of complete love. If marriage can bring out this kind of love, then not only can children find refuge in the home, but also learn to respect and love their parents and others.
4. Glorify God with a heart full of gratitude.
Christopher's mother said that we should have a grateful heart and see God's blessings no matter what the situation is, good or bad. She used the example of how she saw God's blessings through the arrest of her son to tell the audience that "God is helping and loving us all along. God is the truth."
[Editor's note: Carol Lee translated the article.]