A Letter to the Shunners

Dear Shunners,

I write out of love. I write because I must. I write because I am tired of it.

Yes, I have three children and yes, they are all unique and varied individuals. Right now, only one of them is an adult and free to make choices that are many times in direct opposition to what we believe, as his parents.

If you know him and see how he has changed this last year, it may sadden or shock you. But what you can never know are the conversations we have behind closed doors; when no one else gets that intimate glimpse into his heart or sees the confusion and insecurity in his eyes. Nor can you hear him wrestle with the magnitude of what it means to grow up, the fear of having to take responsibility and become financially independent.

To those that don’t know him and have either listened to juicy morsels of gossip or taken advantage of moments when in a quest for transparency or vulnerability, I’ve shared too much, shame on you. You are culpable for making a judgement call based on a snippet of information. Your limited knowledge has gone to your head and given you license to shun- him, our other children and maybe even us. Just so you understand what I mean, here’s what shun means: avoid, evade, eschew, steer clear of, shy away from, keep one’s distance from.

Perhaps you didn’t mean to do these things. Maybe you shun because you are afraid of a rebellious child and the implications of it on your own child/family. I understand the fear. I used to feel that way before providence would have it that we would need to love our own prodigal of sorts. Or perhaps you have forgotten the priority of Jesus’s message was to seek and save the lost- not shun and avoid the lost. This is the message we carry to the world.

So, I lovingly plead with those who cannot empathize with us or him during this season, to stop. Stop shunning. Stop standing in your high and lofty place as judge of our family, our parenting methods, or especially our son. And please stop assigning guilt to our other children based on the struggles of one.

Most of all, be mindful of self-righteousness, a lack of grace and the tendency to eschew someone whom you perceive as a rebel. Recognize that no matter what decisions our children make- good or bad- our love for them remains zealous and unchanged. Our fierce sense of protection still wants to “assault” those with intent to hurt them.

We don’t make excuses for wrongdoing. We accept culpability for mistakes we have made in parenting. Conversely, we embrace in gospel love those who think differently than us, look differently than us, live differently than us- especially when they happen to be our own flesh and blood.

Grace will reach farther and soften a heart more than shunning ever could. Grace will lead the rebel home.

With tenacious boldness,

Jane

6 thoughts on “A Letter to the Shunners”

  1. I hear what your saying Rebecca and I see how some churches are steeped in legalism and judgmentalism, and I’m so sorry for the pain inflicted by them and for your whole family. Jesus would call them pharasses, and told them they had no inheritance in the kingdom of God. Their behavior is not gospel filled or grace filled and opposes what Jesus taught, I do pray for them, that they will see their offense and change. King David was guilty of premeditated murder, premeditated adultery, he went against the rules of war and had Uriah come home from fighting to be with his wife to cover up if bathsheeba was indeed pregnant by him. Awesome thing is that now after all that king David is considered a man after Gods own heart.
    It’s God who restores and creates us anew. If your son has ever showed signs of love for God or repentance or anything like that it was God who was drawing him and satan wants more than anything to devour that faith, unfortunately we have our whole culture vying for the same thing from our children also. But God will prevail in our children’s lives if we keep believing in God for our children and praying in faith that what God desires for our children God WILL bring about He promises.

    God loves your children and you precious momma. God holds your heart while through this trial you hold on to Him and Thank Him in the midst of it.

    I’ll be praying with you sister for your children and mine, believing God fully and trusting He will finish what He started.

    Grace and Peace,
    Kimberly Orozco

  2. Thank you for writing this. Those who shun don’t understand that the salvation any of us has is ONLY and completely a result of God’s mercy and grace, not a result of our works as parents. Not only that, but what kind of good news do we teach our children when we exclude families out of fear? Don’t we model another gospel? Won’t our children either see right through the fear and hypocrisy and despise the “religion” or become an unloving, prideful religious person who is far from the heart of God?

    Make sure your children are taught to love and forgive the shunners for they know not what they do, and instead show them how to love others by reaching out to the lost as a family…

  3. Amen and Thank-you. I know I’ve been in the shunned and the shunning place and I am saddened by both. By God’s grace He has allowed me or those I love to be “shunned” and opened my eyes to my sin of shunning in the past. I also have to trust in God’s timing and sovereignty as I am also a “fixer” and desire to “help fix” those that are in a shunned or shunning place now. Prayer, love and empathy is all I need to offer. Thank you friend.

  4. Ditto, friend. It saddens me to think I used to fall into this category (and sometimes still do as it relates to other areas of life). Humbling was apparently in order for me to have to learn grace and tolerance. I am a changed woman and yet, still working on those areas where I am apt to shun!

  5. Thank you, Dianne. You are often in the forefront of my mind as I wrestle with these issues. I love your graceful and balanced approach. And yes, forgiveness is something I am working on, continually. Thank you for that reminder too.

  6. Kimberly,

    Thank you for the poignant reminder of King David.Thank you for your soothing words of encouragement as well. He WILL finish what He started, won’t He?! Blessings to you and yours. May we be strengthened for the tasks ahead!

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