The River of Sin.

By jreighley - Last updated: Wednesday, January 26, 2011 - Save & Share - Leave a Comment

The past couple weeks, my wife and I have been taking a Foster Parenting Class, and I learned a ton.

The state’s adoption worker came in and said as far as the courts seem to be concerned nearly all foster children are “special needs” -to one degree or another.   They have all been through painful separations, and every step of development, they gain new tools to process through the old pain.  Counselors can help them at 6, but they have a new understanding of the world and their person by the time the reach 9, so what they where ‘cured’ of often comes back in new ways.  Again at 15, again at 18 and probably even further into their adult life.

Many within the state’s system have Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder or where born addicted to drugs.   This causes the children to be wired differently and to have behaviors that are unexpected and often incompatible with social norms.   Many of these children exhibit no deformities in their outward appearance, so they seem like they ought to be perfectly normal.

American evangelicalism is very focused on the individual,  personal responsibility, and the role of free will in a person’s relationship with God.    I suspect that most American Christians abhor the verses in the bible that talk about the iniquity for a father’s sin being passed  down for many generations.  But they are there. Exodus 34:7,  Deuteronomy 5:9 just for a couple.

Those same verses do contrast the iniquity being passed down 3 or 4 generations with God’s love being passed down for thousands.

The issue for me really came to a head when the state presented the video regarding the gay, lesbian, and transgendered kids within the foster care system.   Apparently there is a sizable proportion of the teens in the system that exhibit these behaviors.   Several brave Christian souls spoke out “That is a behavior, a choice” they said.

I found that response quite interesting.  I don’t totally disagree.  It is a behavior.  We do have a choice.  But that doesn’t mean that some people may not be pre-programmed to be inclined make a particular choice.   We had spent all morning talking about the lifelong behaviors exhibited in children effected by drugs and alcohol.  Lifelong  behaviors triggered by being neglected as an infant.  Lifelong behaviors stemming out of sexual abuse. Lifelong behaviors from being placed in homes and ripped out multiple times.  In many cases these tendencies  can be overcome and the weaknesses can be mitigated through counseling and hard work, but the tendencies are there.

The sins of others do effect our behavior.  There is just no getting around it.  Some of it may be genetic, but a lot of it might be caused by the damage of being sinned against.  We are an already broken people and we live in an erosive society.   As everyone around us sins, it knocks us off of our feet.   We are swept into the river and are flailing about grasping in panic trying to find a way out of our inevitable fate.  For many their coping mechanism is to accept the fate and to find a comfortable vice that will sooth them to death.  Drugs, alcohol, sexuality etc are all self-soothing vices.  The vices damage our potential for a solid legacy,  but if we don’t have stability for ourselves, we have little hope for stability for our offspring.

The Christian response ought not be to shrug judgmentally as we watch people perishing.  “It’s a choice”

People make that choice because they have no hope of anything solid to grasp onto.  We need to show them a choice.  God offers redemption for all.  His love pours forth to a thousand generations.  The sinner just doesn’t see God’s promise as something graspable.    Most folks will continue on the wide road —  grasping their comforting vice, and we ought not fret over their rejection.  As we witness faithfully, God will use us to call some to the narrow road.  They will let go of their soothing vice and walk in new life.     That new life will be seen by others — and will give hope to others – and perhaps will lead even more to the narrow road.

Posted in Christianity, Doctrines of Grace, Parenting • Tags: , , , , Top Of Page