Christian parents must accept their child's decisions whether they approve of them or not, the Rev. Billy Graham advises in a message posted on the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association'swebsite Saturday.
The renowned 97-year-old preacher was responding to a question posted to BGEA's "My Answers" which asked how parents should handle their daughter's marriage when they don't approve of the fiancé.
"We can't always control what our children do as they grow older and become adults — nor should we. And even when they make mistakes or go against our advice, they are still our children, and we still love them and want what is best for them," Graham explains.
The religious leader says that despite a child's seemingly poor judgment, it is important the parent keep communication open and remain a beacon of support, so when the child does need help they have a reliable source to turn to.
If you cut ties with your child it won't change anything, Graham explains, it would only "alienate [the child] from you and make it harder to be reconciled in the future."
"If they have children someday, why should you deny them the privilege of knowing their grandparents?" the preacher adds.
Ultimately, although they disapprove, parents should "accept" their adult child's circumstances as is and pray to God for guidance. Because the Lord loves the parents as much as he loves their children, he may answer their prayers in a surprising way.
"Rather than rejecting them or wishing ill of them, I challenge you to pray for them and ask God to bless them as a couple," Graham encourages.
The Baptist minister adds that this is an opportunity for all involved to renew their relationship with Christ.
"Do all you can to reach out to them — not in an overbearing way, but simply to let them know you care for them and value them as part of your family. Encourage them also to put Christ at the center of their marriage," he continues. "May this also be a time of recommitment on your part — to each other, and most of all to Jesus Christ."
Graham has offered his advice on parenting before. When asked why it is so hard to parent in a previous BEGA post back in 2006, the preacher responded by saying that while raising a child may be the most challenging experience of one's life, it can also be the most satisfying.
Graham suggests that parenting could be a more fulfilling experience "if we learn to look beyond the immediate problems and heartaches and begin to see it from God's point of view."
"After all, God gave your children to you, and He did it because He knows they need the love and wisdom only you can give them. The Bible says: 'Sons are a heritage from the Lord, children a reward from him,' Psalm 127:3."