Can we help? with PASTOR & MRS BANDA
DEAR Raphael and Namukolo,
I have been married to my husband for 15 years. We have four children. However, I have a big confession to make. Our firstborn who is 15 years is not my husband’s son.
I got pregnant from another man just before I married my husband. My husband has always thought he is his child. Recently two things have happened. I became a Christian and I am finding it difficult to keep this burden inside me and, secondly, the father of the child has been insisting he wants his son.
I therefore need help with the following: How should I go about to inform my husband that the 15-year-old son is not his, given that he is not a believer? Secondly, should the actual father of the boy be allowed to claim his son without him first passing through my relatives since there was no formal acknowledgement of this pregnancy by him?
Mrs. Secret Keeper
Dear Mrs. Secret Keeper,
You must first identify all the parties involved in this saga. The decision taken should have the interest of all the parties involved. The parties are:
b. Your 15-year-old son
c. Your husband
d. Your ex-boyfriend
1. God is the most important party who should determine what happens to you and your family. You say you have just become a believer. What does God require from a non-believer who is coming to Him? He requires repentance from all known sin and putting one’s faith in Christ. Christ then forgives us of all the sins we have ever committed. The sinner is not required to go and make confession to all the persons they sinned against because in the first place that would be an impossibility. However, sometimes it might be necessary to make confession and or retribution to some people in our lives when we become believers. We find an example of this in the bible account of Zacchaeus in Luke 19.1-10. This has to do with current sinful behaviour which might be negatively affecting the people around us. We might need, for example, to apologise for bad behaviour which has ostracized us from our neighbours; or return money or property we had recently stolen, etc. This is evidence of and not a condition for salvation. If, for example, you had become a Christian during your courtship or just after getting married, such restoration or confession to your husband could have been advisable and in order.
But 15 years down the line, what happened lies in your history. It is your salvation which is current and hence the conviction as your conscience is awakened.
What you have to deal with now are simply the consequences of sin. Although all sin is forgiven at conversion, the consequences do not automatically disappear. What God requires from us with respect to dealing with the consequences of our past sin is that we ask for wisdom from him on how to go about it.
So, as we turn to the other parties involved, the question should be what is the best or wisest cause of action to take?
2. Your 15-year-old son. Of all the parties involved, he is the most vulnerable and he is the one you should worry the most about as he is still a minor. As adults we have the responsibility of taking care of minors. That responsibility includes protecting them from information which they are not capable of carrying on their young shoulders. Your son has only known one dad to date. To introduce another ‘dad’ to him accompanied with all the ugliness that might normally go with such revelation is to subject him to something that is beyond his capacity to bear. It is tantamount to child abuse and he might be crushed by that revelation and never recover from it. There is no telling the damage that he might sustain. He might sink into depression, become suicidal or start performing badly in his schoolwork. Your husband might fail to relate normally with him thereafter leading to more complications. If he was moved to a new home with new people around him he might not be able to cope with such changes made so late in his life. This negative effect might cascade to your other children since they have always known the firstborn as a full member of their family.
So, as much as it is in your power, you must keep your son out of this whilst he is still a minor. If he must know about his other ‘father’, then the best time would be when he is an adult, out of your home and working. Then the news would have very little consequence to him as he will be better placed to understand.
Next week we will see how you need to address the three remaining parties: your husband, your ex-boyfriend and yourself.
Be thankful to God in all circumstances.