Brought to Light

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Heartfelt post offering hope for parents discovering sin. (John 3:20)

There comes a point in many parents’ lives when they get some disturbing news:

Their child has committed a grave sin.

Or perhaps has been the victim of a grievous evil.

Innocence gone.

Childhood tainted.

Situations such as these can be emotionally intense and complicated; I urge you to consider whether pastoral or professional help is needed. Unraveling the underlying issues, the implications, the repentance, and/or the healing is often a lengthy process.

I don’t hope to plumb the depths of those matters today. God has placed one goal on my heart: to offer hope.

I’ve been there. I’ve felt that empty-and-hollow yet somehow full-of-butterflies feeling in my stomach over discovered sin…

the almost-physical ache over the state of our sinful world and the state of man’s sinful heart from which I’m not excluded. 

Nor are those I love.

I’ve experienced the agonizing realization that things will never be the same.

And here’s what I’ve learned:

1.)Discovering sin is a sure sign that God is at work. Those entrenched in sin will endeavor to keep it hidden at all costs. Jesus Himself said:

Everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. (John 3:20)

Left to the natural state of things, sin will remain hidden. And so when sin is discovered, we can give thanks to God Himself for casting aside the veil of darkness with His merciful hand and bringing it to light.

2.)Discovering sin is a gift of grace. It sure doesn’t feel like grace, does it?

But it is.

When sin remains hidden, its growth can explode in a way that pervades every aspect of a person’s life, radically changing his very nature.

But when sin comes to light, it can be dealt with. Conversations can be had; counseling can be sought; lifestyles can be changed; God’s Word can be searched; hearts can be softened; restitution can be made; restoration can be achieved.

But none of this can occur until the sin is brought to light.

So how can that be anything except grace?

3.)Discovering sin is an opportunity to trust God more fully. When sin is discovered, we receive a much-needed reality check that our kids are ultimately under God’s authority.

We’re also reminded that as parents we’re desperately dependent on God for wisdom beyond our years. For discernment beyond our experience. For peace beyond our understanding.

If we’re wise, we will also hear and answer the call to fall to our knees in prayer on behalf of our children. We will lift them up before the God who made them and loves them and has great plans for them, and we beg Him to work in their hearts. To convict. To restore. To heal. To purify. To renew. To resurrect.

And we can get up from that place of prayer in full hope and confidence that in His way, in His time, He will answer.

Heartfelt post offering hope for parents discovering sin. (John 3:20)

Written by Jennifer Clarke


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2 Replies to “Brought to Light”

  1. Sarah S.

    It is truly ordained what perfect timing it is that I came across this 2.5 hours after learning of one of my children’s behavior that has me devastated and I still don’t know what to do. I believe every word of this and would likely calmly counsel someone in my situation the very same things, but when you are faced with (what you believe to be) your own parenting failures and your own child’s poor choices, it takes on a whole other dimension. Thank you, thank you for being the voice of God.

    • Jennifer Clarke Post author

      Welcome, Sarah! Isn’t it beautiful the way God uses His people to encourage one another? What a tender sign of His love and care during tough times, the way He orchestrates meetings such as this! I just took some time to pray for your child, and for God’s lavish grace, wisdom, and comfort for you. I wish I could also give you a big hug right now! I’m trusting that His perfect love will conquer all, and that your entire family will sense His presence in a particularly close and intimate way, as He uses this trial to bring each of you to greater heights of maturity and faith. Blessings, dear sister!


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