Ellen G. White Writings

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Manuscript Releases, vol. 21 [Nos. 1501-1598], Page 429

MR No. 1591—Counsel to Parents of a Wayward Son

(Written February 5, 1890, from Battle Creek, Michigan, to Brother and Sister Lindsay. Portions of this letter appear in Child Guidance.) 21MR 429

Your letters I have read with interest and sympathy. I would say your son now needs a father as he has never needed one before. He has erred; you know it, and he knows that you know it, and words that you would have spoken to him in his innocency with safety and which would not have produced any bad results, would now seem like unkindness and be sharp as a knife. I am a mother of boys, and I know in this age, when the enemy of God and his workmanship is seeking to destroy the youth under his hellish banner, he will make every effort to lead them into temptation and into sin. Then they become desperate and discouraged as this sin is kept ever before them. 21MR 429.1

Some natures cannot bear censure. This is the case with yourself, my brother. Nothing will make your heart so heavy and you so completely shorn of your strength, whether you think you deserve it or not. If you do merit any reproof, then almost any movement in this direction seems to be construed by you to mean more than it truthfully does mean, and it makes you just as wretched and unhappy in supposing they reflect on you and mean to hurt you as if it were all verity and truth. 21MR 429.2

When our children fall into sin and everyone draws away from the misguided youth and would condemn him in an unsparing manner, should not the father and mother show a remarkable tenderness, not making sin appear the less grievous and abhorrent, but helping the inexperienced youth to recover himself? Should not your son who has erred be encouraged to consider that if he returns to his father, confessing his sin, he will be freely and fully pardoned and his disgrace covered with your own pitying love? I know that parents feel very keenly the shame of the wrongdoing of a child that has dishonored them, but does the erring one wound and bruise the heart of the earthly parent any more than we as the children of God bruise our heavenly Parent who has given us and is still giving us His love, inviting us to return and repent of our sins and iniquities and He will pardon our transgression? 21MR 429.3

Do not withdraw your love now. That love and sympathy is needed now as never before. When others look with coldness and put the worst construction upon the misdeeds of your boy, should not the father and mother in pitying tenderness seek to 21MR 429.4

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