Q. My husband and I have two wonderful teenage boys (17 & 18). They have grown up in the church and have never caused us any reason to not trust them, but recently the younger one has really changed. We confronted him about it only to find out that he no longer sees himself as a Christian. He claims it’s all just a fairy tale and he thinks that “religion” has too many silly rules. He says we are too restrictive and he has totally withdrawn from all family functions. He doesn’t want to go to youth group anymore and only attends Sunday service to keep the peace. My husband and I pray for him constantly but just don’t know what else to do. Any advice on how to handle this situation would be much appreciated.
A. This is not unusual. A large percentage of children raised in a Christian home rebel during their teenage years, and your son is right in one sense. Religion has too many silly rules. It’s our relationship with the Lord that matters, not keeping religious rules (John 6:28-29).
You didn’t mention if your son is born again or not, but if he is, then He has a relationship with the Lord that can never be broken. In John 6:37-40 Jesus explained that it’s God’s will that no one who comes to Him will ever be lost. And Paul said our inheritance is guaranteed from the moment we believe (Ephes. 1:13-14) and that God has put His seal of ownership on us and His Spirit in our heart to make sure this happens (2 Cor. 1:21-22).
Your son might try your patience now and then, and may do some things you don’t approve of, but praying for him is the most effective strategy you can employ. And remember, the Lord has often made great use of people who had previously rebelled against Him. I know because I’m one of them.
Proverbs 22:6 says, “Train up your child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” It doesn’t promise there will never be a time of rebellion, it says the training he had as a child will eventually bring him back. In the meantime the Lord has promised never to leave or lose him.