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Giving Your Child to the Devil

(Please be sure and read the addendum at the end of this article).

It has been said that in marriage, the pain and stress of divorce is greater than even the pain of losing a spouse to death. I believe the same can be said of breaking ties with your child. Unless one has experienced this kind of loss and grief, they cannot fully understand the depth of pain experienced by a parent.

Someone may ask, “Why would anyone break ties with her own child?” The answer is, “loyalty to Jesus.” Being a disciple of Jesus demands our relationship to him be greater than our relationship to our own family, even our own children (Matthew 10:37).

I pray that you never have to make such a sacrifice, but I also pray that you love the Lord enough to choose Him over your children. This is where we find ourselves. This is our life. Our oldest son has turned his back on the Lord, and in spite of all our attempts, he refuses to repent. Consequently, our relationship has changed. It cannot remain the same and be loyal to Jesus (2 Thessalonians 3:6,14-15; 1 Corinthians 5:1-13). Our contact with our son is now limited to attempts at restoration. We have no fellowship. We used to share holidays, regular phone calls and texts, family events, etc. but now, all that is gone. Our son has completely turned his back on everything he ever believed. He has no respect for the Lord or His church. He has chosen a life of sin rather than the hope of salvation. And because of his rebellion against God, we as parents must make a choice. Do we overlook his practice of sin and maintain our relationship, or do we withdraw ourselves from him as the Lord instructs?

I believe that the blood of Christ is more important that the physical flesh and blood that I share with my son. Unfortunately, my husband and I know the pain of “giving our child to the Devil.” Those words are sharp, shocking and grim, just as Paul intended them to be when he wrote them (1 Corinthians 5:5). Perhaps I am writing this is for myself more than for those who are reading. I have not seen my son in nearly two and a half years now and there are days that the pain is just as fresh as ever. Until now, I have kept this pain inside and shared with only a couple of my closest friends. I am not sure that a day has gone by that I have not shed tears. Sometimes it is a single tear and other days are gut wrenching cries of despair. I have pulled into my driveway with tears blinding my eyes, only to find myself literally screaming and wailing in grief. I’m devastated by our loss; his loss.

I feel desperation and hopelessness. I’m scared. What probably began as harmless flirtation with sin has now become a quicksand that pulls my son deeper and deeper toward Hell. Sometimes I feel jealous of other parents who have close, loving relationships with all their grown children. I feel embarrassed by what my son has done.

The fact is, I don’t know this person that I once thought I knew so well. Was I blind to things that I should have seen? I believed our relationship was so close. I adored this child. Was the love our son expressed to us all a lie? How does one go from being a respectful obedient child to flagrantly disregarding everything we taught him and everything that we stand for?

A full night’s sleep…what is that? While I am able to fall asleep easily, there is not a night that goes by that I sleep until morning. I awaken in the middle of the night, and the first thought in my mind is that I had just had a terrible dream, but I soon realize that it wasn’t a dream, it is reality; my reality.

I try to picture where my son is now and what he may be doing. I hurt. Sin is ugly. It is disgusting. It perverts. While I don’t want to know, I find myself drawn to his social media like watching two cars collide. I want to look away, but I can’t. I care too much.

Sometimes the hardest thing are the memories. Remembering the joy I felt in that plump baby who looked at me so adoringly. I remember when he sat on the kitchen counter helping peel potatoes or stir ingredients into the batter. I remember our home school days at the kitchen table and reading together on the couch. I remember singing harmony together in the kitchen. I remember the pride I felt when he led singing or gave a talk at young men’s night at church. Those memories are all I have left now. There are no more to make.

Occasionally, I may see a young man that looks like my son. Or, I may be cleaning out a closet and see a photograph. I may be asked by a well-meaning person, where my son is now. All these make me cry. He was such a handsome boy, an excellent student, a talented musician, so kind and thoughtful of others. He never gave us trouble while at home. He loved his siblings. I remember his “infectious laugh.”

Mother’s day and Father’s day are so hard. While we used to receive the most precious cards and notes of love and appreciation, now any correspondence from him are filled with anger, blame, hateful words. Even worse are the sarcastic and blasphemous words used toward his heavenly Father.

Self evaluation, guilt, despair, fear….I have felt all these emotions. Who is a perfect parent? Who doesn’t have something that they would change if they could go back. Even so, I know that we were good parents. We loved our son, spent time with him, encouraged him, and taught him God’s word.

I don’t know what the future holds for our son or our family. What I do know is that God is faithful (2 Thessalonians 3:3). He will do what is right (Genesis 18:25). He will reward those who diligently seek him (Hebrews 11:6). More than I could have ever understood before, I long for the promises of heaven, namely that God will wipe away every tear…there will be no more death, sorrow, crying, or pain (Revelation 21:4).

Heaven will be a place of great reunion with those who have gone on before. There is an old hymn that invites everyone to “come to the feast”. I just wish we didn’t have an empty chair at our table.

Addendum:  After having read several replies to my article, I saw several common misconceptions that were continually being made. Therefore, I thought I might clear a few of these up for some readers.

1. Unconditional Love Is Not The Same Thing As Acceptance. Nearly everyone who has written to me has “scolded” me for not loving my child “unconditionally.” Their accusation is false. I do love my child unconditionally. There is nothing that my child could ever do to make me stop loving him. I believe that’s what unconditional love is, and that’s what I practice. However, many are apparently confused being unable to distinguish between unconditional love and acceptance. While I will never stop loving my son, I refuse to accept the sin of which my son remains unrepentant. God is indeed a God of love, but have so many forgotten that this “God of love” disciplines his children, even “giving them up” (Romans 1:24,26,28), and will some day eternally separate himself from them? God doesn’t stop loving his children, but his love doesn’t keep him from separating himself from them (Isaiah 59:1-2). I think if people would read the prophets, they’d be shocked to see how their short-sighted view of love is overturned by God’s genuine response of love. Furthermore, you might do well to remember that a man, a good man, came to Jesus and asked him what he needed to do to be saved. Jesus told him, and the man was unwilling to do it. But don’t miss this.  The text says that Jesus, looking at him, loved him.  But he let him walk away. He didn’t call him back. He didn’t change his terms. He loved him, but let him walk away (Mark 10:21-22). The fact that our son has walked away from us doesn’t mean we have stopped loving him.

2.  Jesus Loved Sinners, even socializing with them. Of course he did. And so do I. But what many are failing to understand is that there are two types of sinners. Sinners who are outside the body of Christ (still in the world), and sinners who are part of the body of Christ (brethren). The inspired apostle Paul said they are to be treated differently (1 Corinthians 5:9-11). The Corinthians had a question about keeping company with sinners and Paul told them they had misunderstood his instructions. He said that he was not forbidding Christians from keeping company with sinners, otherwise, we couldn’t live in the world. Instead, he was telling them that they were not to keep company or fellowship, not even to eat with a sinner who is a BROTHER in Christ. I’m not surprised that so many failed to see this distinction because it isn’t frequently preached, and it is even more seldom put into practice. But it is in the Bible…read it for yourself.

3.  What Is The Sin That Is So Terrible That You Would “Abandon” Your Son?  First of all, we haven’t “abandoned” our son.  He has abandoned us. We are right where we have always been. Even the prophet Amos said that two cannot walk together unless they be agreed (Amos 3:3). He chose to walk down a path of sin; a path in which we will not walk with him, nor will we endorse him as he walks it. My loyalty is first to God, not my family (Matthew 10:34-37). Second, the specific sin is irrelevant. My response would be the same if he were unrepentant with regard to any sin. Of course, I’m not talking about sins of momentary human weakness, sins committed in the moment, or sins we are trying to fight. I’m talking about sins to which we have given ourselves. Sins we no longer fight, but to which we have surrendered ourselves. Again, the doctrine of discipline is ignored by many Christians today, and so they, along with the world, are shocked to learn of such doctrine. But if you believe the Bible to be the word of God, then it’s there staring you in the face, and you have a decision to obey or disobey it (1 Corinthians 5:1-13; 2 Thessalonians 3:6,14-15).

And one final thought. Those who have, through their “feigned” righteous indignation, called for my death; prayed that I rot in Hell; proposed sexual acts be done to me; cursed at me with the vilest of profanities; and who have blasphemed the God I serve…let me assure you of this one thing…Your hateful words have only solidified my stance. Your hate speech, draped in feigned concern and love for God and my son, have served to remind me that I live in a fallen world. Your words have emboldened me and have not caused me to shrink. Your words have deepened my roots. I will not be moved.  In fact, your words have actually given me reason to rejoice in that you have allowed me the privilege, however small it may be, to share in the suffering of Jesus. “But rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings…” (1 Peter 4:13).

Comments 65

  • Not a day goes by that I don’t pray for you all. My heart is broken along with yours because of the choices he has made and I continue to pray that he will be granted the time to make things right. Love you and your family.

  • I am sorry for your loss. May God bless you for your loyalty to Him.

  • My heart breaks for you. It would be an honor to join you in prayer for him. I’ll also pray that this post will be an encouragement to others who are struggling with such grief. Hugs to your family.

  • I think and pray for him and for all of you often. The past 2 weeks my heart has hurt for all of you. We will continue to pray for a change of heart.

  • Our hearts here are heavy for you and Steve and family and we are going to pray for you.

  • I believe all your words. We love you and pray for you and for him.

  • Kim, Steve and Family, my heart just breaks for you all. I pray for strength for you all and for God’s peace to fill your hearts. I will continue to pray that he will, as the prodigal son did, come to his senses and return to God and to his precious family.

    • Thank you Runelle. I’m sorry to say that right now he is on a downward spiral, sinking farther and farther away. I’ll never stop praying for his return.

  • I am deeply hurt by your loss. Tears rolled down my face as I finished reading and looked at my own son unable to comprehend the devestation you must feel. I know the words must seem somehow empty but I will pray for you and Steve and your son. I hope our God blesses you and gives you peace for your strength and steadfastness.

  • I’m so deeply sorry for your family. Our family knows this sorrow too. Your story sounds identical.
    It’s been our on going nightmare for about 11 years now.
    You expressed all the feeling and emotions so perfectly. Oh, it really does feel like a death and an absolute blindsided divorce. It’s just crushing at times. I really appreciate your sharing this, as I know it was extremely difficult. Praying for your family and your prodigal.

  • My heart is breaking reading this. I will pray for you and your family in addition to praying that your son returns to God. I know you did all you could to teach your son and this article has encouraged me to be diligent in completing our daily study with my own young children. Thank you for sharing.

  • I’ve thought about you and your family so many times. I have prayed and will continue to pray for a change of heart. I will continue to pray for all of you. You have faced the unthinkable but I admire your faith to do what is right in His eyes.

  • Kim
    I am sorry you have had to experience this but admire your courage and strength to stand for truth. My children are 11&13 and not yet Christians, but I hope I would remain dedicated to Lord as you have if they choose not to remain faithful. God bless you and your family.

  • Kim and Steve, your family have always been in our prayers. You all are great parents and have always taught your children the Bible and God’s way. Praying for you and your family and especially for Michael to turn away from sin. 🙏

  • My heart hurts for such a wonderful family! I pray someone or some circumstance will return your beloved son to God and your family. I will definitely pray for your son to redirect his path toward God.

  • Sister Kim and brother Steve, receive all our love from Mexico. You will be on the top of our prayers list in our family and congregation.

  • I understand. I have lost all my children to Satan. There has been no contact going from 6 to 23 years. I have missed the birth of grandchildren and great grandchildren. It hurts so much but I can only pray that they come back to God from the depths of sin they have chosen. The only family I now have is my church and it hurts that many cannot/will not understand the pain since they have strong relationships with their children. It gets very lonely but my God is with me.

  • Dearest friends, crying and hurting for you now. Only wish I could wrap my arms around you both to give comfort. I will remember your family when I pray. And remember, it’s not over yet. Praying for the day your beautiful son returns.

  • Thank you so much for your faith, courage and humility in writing this heart wrenching article. We pray for you and Steve and for your son that he will open his heart and eyes to God and return to the Lord and to you.

  • Kim, My heart is breaking wide open for you. My parents were dear friends of your father-in-law, Frank. (Ruth & Argle Freeman – Frank conducted both their funerals.) I am in the end stages of a divorce. Yes, I married a Christian. From a strong Christian family. We met at Harding. I did about as well as I ever thought I could. I have scriptural reason for said divorce. On TOP of that, all 3 of my children are following in his footsteps. I have lost my entire immediate family. I feel your pain and grief. I live it every day. I am completely alone after being a family of 5. I only pray that my children find their way back to the way they were trained and brought up for years. My Lord & Saviour is my one constant. Without my church family, I would be lost. Thank you for sharing your heart and soul. May God grant us both peace and comfort.

  • If your son doesnt believe in God why would he repent?

  • I know first-hand the tears and sorrow of losing contact with a son. I used to cry uncontrollably, the stress was unbearable, we wanted to save him from a life that we knew would not be good or happy for him.
    Ultimately, no matter what you do or say, their future is for them to decide. He listened to lies and that has not changed to this day.
    I pray for him, I pray for his family.
    I never know when I will be verbally attacked. There is no rhyme or reason to this madness. I gave it to God. I will go to my grave loving with all my heart my precious son.

  • Thank you so much for writing this…

  • I pray that the Almighty God comfort you in this trying period of your life and strengthen the family. Please continue to pray and fast for him. We will continue to pray and fast for him also. There’s nothing God cannot do. Remain blessed.

  • Thank you for sharing this … my wife and I have had a very similar situation. It doesn’t get better for us, but we don’t give up. May the Lord continue to help and bless all who find this in their families.

  • The depth of your love for Christ and you children is immense, as is your your love for others. Thank you for your frank encouragement and for your dedication to do right, be right, live right before Our Father.
    I know you are not alone and that God knows how you feel. Isaiah 1:2 (NKJV) “Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth! For the LORD has spoken: “I have nourished and brought up children, And they have rebelled against Me;”

  • Oh, how I feel your pain, for it is mine as well. I pray we both find strength and reward in Him who sacrificed for us.

  • Kim,
    We truly understand where you are coming from and feel the pain. We are still holding on hoping that Patrick attending Sunday evening services will prick his heart and make him realize that he is living a life of sin and must repent. We feel even though he was raised in the same family as his Christian brother the devil won him over with “friends” who have led him down this dark path. We call it brain washing but we know he had a choice and allowed it to happen. We are so greatful for the interest our brothers and sisters show in him. As he was led away by sinful friends, he can be led back by Christian friends. Again, the choice is up to him. We can only pray.
    Our prayers are with your family as I know your prayers are with ours.

  • God bless you, good sister. I will pray fervently for your family.

  • Steve and Kim, my heart breaks with yours. I’m praying for you and for your son. You are wonderful parents. Loving your son enough to turn him over to Satan has to be the hardest thing in life. Praying for comfort for you and that he will respond to this discipline and return to the Lord.

  • I was good friends with your son in college- he even sang in my wedding. It has churned my stomach to watch such a dear friend and brother in Christ choose the path he has chosen. I have very little contact with him now, as I have chosen to distance myself. However, not a day goes by that he does not pop into my head. My eyes are filling with tears as I write this. I want you to know that I pray for him frequently. It has distressed me to see others that were in our class who are supposedly christians support and even encourage him toward this distructive path and probably do not give it much thought. There are still some of us in his circle of college friends who pray for him daily. These friends and I have wept many times on his behalf. I hope this is of some encouragement to you. I’ve never met you but I’ve been praying for your son and you and your husband for a very very long time.

  • While I have never met you, I have an acquaintance with your son. There was hardly a visit a few years ago with our daughter at college that we did not have some kind of contact with him as we provided food and visited with all of her friends. Your son was always pleasant, polite, happy, and kind. Qualities that I knew his parents had instilled in him (and qualities that I know he still has). I have thought about his family over these past few days knowing the events that were to transpire. My heart aches and tears have been shed for the decisions that he made and for severed relationships. I can’t begin to imagine what your family is going through. However, I am hopeful that some day your relationship will mend, that repentance will be made, and that the son will return home. Prayers for your son and for the family.

  • As I sit here crying for the hurt you both feel, I am also so proud of you for standing up and doing the right thing. There are so many that do not want to turn their backs on their family members. That is not the right way to think about it; they have turned their backs on God and we just want them to return home to Him and to us. You are in our prayers. Never give up. When he hits rock bottom, there is no place to look but UP.

  • My heart aches for you. We do the best we can as parents but somehow everything seems upside down. I have had similar experiences. I have a grandson who was taken from me after his parents divorce. He was told many lies about me and his dad. I have had children who were so angry with me they wouldn’t talk with me for years. I hate this for you. I pray your son will come back to the Lord and to you. May God look down upon you and bless you for your efforts to follow Him. I pray also that He will ease the burden you carry. Love -Debi

  • Kim I think and pray for you and Steve often. I look at my girls and worry so about all they could go through in their lives, it is so scary. I cannot imagine how you feel but know I think of you. Sorry seems like so little to say.

  • Prayers, support, and appreciation. So many of us needed this. Thank you for sharing.

  • I did not know Kim. I am so, so sorry that you’ve been going through such pain and I did not know. I knew something was wrong, but I didn’t ask, not because I didn’t care but because I didn’t want to upset you or Steve by asking. I am just so devastated for you and over the pain you feel. I am so angry at Satan, the father of lies, the evil one. We are truly at war. We cannot lose this war. As a parent, this terrifies me. You keep fighting the good fight. May God give you strength and may He give you some kind of peace. Keep praying. Keep doing what you know is right. Fight to the end. We fight along side you. I love you. My heart breaks for you both.

  • Dear Kim,

    My heart hurts for you and Steve. I can not begin to express my sorrow for what your family has been enduring. I admire your courage, strength and dedication to the Lord. Our prayers will be with your family continually. May your son’s heart be softened to lead him back to the Savior and to you.

  • After having read several replies to my article, I saw several common misconceptions that were continually being made. Therefore, I thought I might clear a few of these up for some readers.

    1. Unconditional Love Is Not The Same Thing As Acceptance. Nearly everyone who has written to me has “scolded” me for not loving my child “unconditionally.” Their accusation is false. I do love my child unconditionally. There is nothing that my child could ever do to make me stop loving him. I believe that’s what unconditional love is, and that’s what I practice. However, many are apparently confused being unable to distinguish between unconditional love and acceptance. While I will never stop loving my son, I refuse to accept the sin of which my son remains unrepentant. God is indeed a God of love, but have so many forgotten that this “God of love” disciplines his children, even “giving them up” (Romans 1:24,26,28), and will some day eternally separate himself from them? God doesn’t stop loving his children, but his love doesn’t keep him from separating himself from them (Isaiah 59:1-2). I think if people would read the prophets, they’d be shocked to see how their short-sighted view of love is overturned by God’s genuine response of love. Furthermore, you might do well to remember that a man, a good man, came to Jesus and asked him what he needed to do to be saved. Jesus told him, and the man was unwilling to do it. But don’t miss this. The text says that Jesus, looking at him, loved him. But he let him walk away. He didn’t call him back. He didn’t change his terms. He loved him, but let him walk away (Mark 10:21-22). The fact that our son has walked away from us doesn’t mean we have stopped loving him.

    2. Jesus Loved Sinners, even socializing with them. Of course he did. And so do I. But what many are failing to understand is that there are two types of sinners. Sinners who are outside the body of Christ (still in the world), and sinners who are part of the body of Christ (brethren). The inspired apostle Paul said they are to be treated differently (1 Corinthians 5:9-11). The Corinthians had a question about keeping company with sinners and Paul told them they had misunderstood his instructions. He said that he was not forbidding Christians from keeping company with sinners, otherwise, we couldn’t live in the world. Instead, he was telling them that they were not to keep company or fellowship, not even to eat with a sinner who is a BROTHER in Christ. I’m not surprised that so many failed to see this distinction because it isn’t frequently preached, and it is even more seldom put into practice. But it is in the Bible…read it for yourself.

    3. What Is The Sin That Is So Terrible That You Would “Abandon” Your Son? First of all, we haven’t “abandoned” our son. He has abandoned us. We are right where we have always been. Even the prophet Amos said that two cannot walk together unless they be agreed (Amos 3:3). He chose to walk down a path of sin; a path in which we will not walk with him, nor will we endorse him as he walks it. My loyalty is first to God, not my family (Matthew 10:34-37). Second, the specific sin is irrelevant. My response would be the same if he were unrepentant with regard to any sin. Of course, I’m not talking about sins of momentary human weakness, sins committed in the moment, or sins we are trying to fight. I’m talking about sins to which we have given ourselves. Sins we no longer fight, but to which we have surrendered ourselves. Again, the doctrine of discipline is ignored by many Christians today, and so they, along with the world, are shocked to learn of such doctrine. But if you believe the Bible to be the word of God, then it’s there staring you in the face, and you have a decision to obey or disobey it (1 Corinthians 5:1-13; 2 Thessalonians 3:6,14-15).

    And one final thought. Those who have, through their “feigned” righteous indignation, called for my death; prayed that I rot in Hell; proposed sexual acts be done to me; cursed at me with the vilest of profanities; and who have blasphemed the God I serve…let me assure you of this one thing…Your hateful words have only solidified my stance. Your hate speech, draped in feigned concern and love for God and my son, have served to remind me that I live in a fallen world. Your words have emboldened me and have not caused me to shrink. Your words have deepened my roots. I will not be moved. In fact, your words have actually given me reason to rejoice in that you have allowed me the privilege, however small it may be, to share in the suffering of Jesus. “But rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings…” (1 Peter 4:13).

  • Well said Kim.

  • Thank you for asking a very valid question. Believing in God does not equate with obeying God. Our son is a Christian, but he has left the truth of God to follow after his sin of choice. We patiently talked, prayed, waited….repeat for 6 years. Many people have said that we hate our son and that our decision is based on his particular sin, but that is completely false. In the New Testament book of Hebrews 9:5-11, it says that if a father loves his child, he disciplines him. It is not pleasant, but painful for everyone. Our hope is that one day he sees his sin for what it is and comes back to his faith. Until then, we will not accept the profane, blasphemous, and sinful choices. We love him, but we love the Lord more. I hope that clarifies a little.