Today, all scripture references are quoted from the NIV Bible.
Today, I have decided to write about a topic that has been heavy on my heart for a while. Within my extended family, it is a controversial and divisive topic.
In the Apostle Paul's first letter to the Church of Corinth sexual immorality had been brought to his attention. Causing him the need to address that sexual sin within the church is not to be permitted. In chapter 5, verses 1-8, we find a man who had taken his father's wife and to Paul's chagrin, the church of Corinth had been accepting to this - even the unsaved, Gentiles, didn't engage in this particular practice of sexual sin. Paul admonishes the church of Corinth for glorifying such an act. (1 Cor. 5:1-2: It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and such sexual immorality as is not even named among the Gentiles - that a man has his father's wife! And you are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that the he who has done this deed might be taken away from among you." 1 Cor. 5:6-7; Your glorying is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us.")
In Chapter 5, verses 9-13, Paul instructs the church that God judges the unsaved, whereas the church judges the brethren. Paul instructs the church to turn away and not even eat with fellow brethren who are engaged in sexual immorality, covetous, idolatry, revelry, drunkenness or extortion. Please note again, Paul leaves the judging of the un-saved to God, and instructs the church is to continue its witnessing to the unsaved world. It is clear from this passage that we are not to condone or glorify sexual sin among brethren. (1 Cor. 9-13; I wrote to you in my epistle not to keep company with sexually immoral people. Yet I certainly did not mean with the sexually immoral people of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler , or a drunkard, or an extortioner - not even to eat with such a person. For what have I to do with judging those also who are outside? Do you not judge those who are inside? But those who are outside God judges. Therefore, put away from yourselves the evil person.")
As we continue reading down to Chapter 6, verses 9-11, we find Paul warning us not to be deceived. He emphatically stresses that the unrighteous will not inherit the Kingdom of God. Paul also reminds us that we were once the unrighteous but through Salvation in Jesus Christ we have been sanctified and justified. (1 Cor. 6:9-11; Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards or revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the Kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.)
It is with a heavy heart that I report that there are MANY unsaved in our family. Although heavily exposed to the Word of God and Christianity, the majority on both sides of our families have intentionally rejected salvation through Jesus Christ. We have found that most of the unsaved in our family have bought stock in the lie that being a nice, successful and "good" person is enough. However, we all know that the Word of God tell us, "All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."- Romans 3:23. I am sure there are many others out there who find themselves surrounded with unsaved family members.
Today, I am not addressing sin among fellow brethren. I want to address how do we, as Christians, interact with unsaved family members who actively engage in sexual immorality? (I've met many who refuse any association with unsaved family who engage in sexual immorality; causing a great devide.) According to 1 Cor. 9-10, we are to continue an interaction with the unsaved so that we can maintain a witness to them. We personally have many unsaved in our family who are guilty of marital relations outside of marriage and even some who have justified adultery. We also have family who have found themselves dating others who have family members in same sex relationships.
Does 1Cor. 5:9-10 indicate that I am to allow the unsaved to bring sexual immorality into my home? 1 Cor. 6:18 says, "Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man commits is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body". In order to maintain a righteous witness to the unsaved, I think it is very important that I say, "No". Unsaved family members are and continue to be welcomed guests into our home. We love them and pray for them. Most are very nice people and we enjoy hosting them. However, they are NOT permitted to engage in immoral behaviours while in our home. We do not allow unmarried couples to share a bedroom. Contrary to what they think or assume, I do not judge our unsaved family members, that's God's job. However, as a Christian, and as a parent, I must maintain a Biblical standard in my home.
Unfortunately, I often find myself in the situation of unsaved family members avoiding fellowship in our home. Most of our family lives out of state, those who live in state live hundreds of miles away. When they visit it is expected that they will stay for several days. Unfortunately, we find many don't visit because we do not allow them to share a bed/bedroom with their unmarried friend. We've had friends of family members who didn't want to meet us because they assumed we would be mean and judgemental regarding the sexual immorality they, or even their own extended family members, are involved in. On occasion, we've experienced this with our grown sons' friends. Sometimes when our sons have shared our Christian convictions some of their friends make a decision to not meet us. (I wonder if my sons shared this information with a negative tone? ) Again, I want to stress that although I take a stance regarding Biblical standards, I am not rude or mean to the unsaved who come into my home. To do so, would not be very "Christian" of me. It is my Christian duty to demonstrate the love of Christ to not only fellow brethern, but also to the unsaved.
I find this topic to not only to be one of Christian standards, but also one of common courtesy. Most smokers are considerate and do not become offended when non-smoking friends and family do not allow smoking in their homes. The smokers simply abstain from smoking inside the homes and cars of non-smokers. Why, then, have I experienced the unsaved becoming terribly offended when we Christians expect them to abstain from sexual immorality while in our homes? I've been accused of negatively judging them. I maintain that my judgements aren't necessary, God is very well capable of that. But, I am responsible for maintaining an environment of Biblical standards in my home. I am responsible for any and all sinful behaviours that I allow into my home home which could have an un-Biblical influence on our children. I can not completely and fully shield my children from sin. It is everywhere. We can not even drive down the road without seeing an inappropriate billboard or walk into a grocery store without seeing someone who needs more clothing. Just because our society is accepting of and drowning in sin, does not mean I must allow it into the sanctuary our home. I certainly can not send a message to our children that sin is acceptable. If I fail to teach them that sin has severe consequences, then how are they supposed to recognize their own need for salvation?
I pray that our unsaved family members will come to understand that we too were at one time separated from God by our own sins. I pray that they will come to understand that our firm stance regarding the issue of guarding our home against sexual immorality is not a judgement directed at them, but is a standard that we must maintain as a witness to, not only our children but, them. I pray they will, soon, accept the gift of Salvation through Jesus Christ and turn away from their sin.