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ASK BOB: “Should parents permit 24-year-old-son and girlfriend to sleep in same room when visiting?”

by Bob Russell

From www.bobrussell.org

 Occasionally people ask my opinion on various personal or church issues. I recently received the following question which I have reprinted below, followed by my response.

QUESTION

Dear Bob, 

I’m in a Bible study group with some older guys, and one of my friends in the group just announced a dilemma associated with the upcoming visit of his adult son and the son’s girlfriend.  He has reason to believe that they are already cohabiting, at least on occasion.  He would, as a devoted Christ-follower, much prefer that they are assigned to separate sleeping quarters during the visit but is confident that would only result in hurt feelings, anger, resentment, and embarrassment for all concerned.  

Since this type of situation is undoubtedly common for Christian parents, you have probably already addressed the issue in prior articles or messages.  But, my search for your materials for your always sound advice on perplexing issues has been unsuccessful.  Can you help, please?

MY ANSWER

The situation you describe is increasingly common these days.  It’s disappointing to see so many young believers who have grown up in the church and who were taught Christian values by their parents abandon those principles and embrace the current philosophy that “anything goes.” I’m also disappointed with the number of mature Christians who allow personality to trump principle.  Somehow since the sticky situation involves someone they love, they proceed as if God’s rules no longer apply.

     If a sixteen-year-old son asked if his girlfriend could sleep over and stay in his room, Christian parents would be stunned that he even asked. Of course, the answer is no.  When a twenty-four-year-old son brings his girlfriend to the house to meet the parents the same principle should apply.

We can waste a lot of time speculating about how people will react or if someone will be offended.  We don’t know.  But God’s call on our lives is to “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness.”  Our first concern should be to do God’s will and then attempt to communicate the reason as lovingly and firmly as possible.

     Naturally, parents worry about hurting the feelings of their son and his girlfriend. But the first concern should be that we don’t disappoint the Lord by permitting immorality to take place under our own roof and endorse it by our silence.  That sends mixed signals to younger siblings or others aware of the situation.

Perhaps the son would be disappointed in his parents if they yielded on this matter.  Perhaps the parents’ stand will be the only reminder to the son that he needs to repent and respect God’s standard of marriage.  It’s the son who should be concerned about offending his parents, not vice versa. Mom and Dad need to stand firm.

     I would suggest that before the son comes to visit, the parents send a kind note communicating their concern. “We’re excited about your upcoming visit and glad your girlfriend is coming with you.  We are eager to meet her. We’ll have the guest bedroom ready for her, and as always you can stay in your room.  We anticipate having a great weekend and are looking forward to it.”

     If the son or girlfriend is offended by that, then it probably demonstrates a guilty conscience.  Do the right thing and leave the results up to God.

    (Also, located here (www.bobrussell.org) is a blog post I wrote four years ago that gives scriptural reasons why sex before marriage is still wrong…regardless of public opinion.  Hope you find it helpful.)

 

         Bob Russell is retired Senior Minister of Southeast Christian Church in Louisville, KY.

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That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

2 Corinthians 12:10