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Back in Genesis chapter 12, The Lord God basically adopted Abram. In chapter 15, God made a covenant with Abram. Genesis 17:19, God tells Abram that with his son Isaac He will establish an everlasting covenant. Exodus 6:7, "Therefore say to the children of Israel:I am the Lord; I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, I will rescue you...I will take you as My people, and I will be your God." We know from the Bible that the children of Israel were mostly a rebellious group. But, God rescued them again and again and again. Not really a new story. Even Cain was rebellious. God really chastised him. Even Adam and Eve were rebellious. However God remains the same, always! God is our Heavenly Father.Isaiah 43:2,3 "When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, Nor the flame scorch you. For I Am The Lord your God, The Holy one of Israel, your Savior..." Ezekiel chapter 37, screams that God Will Never abandon Israel. In Luke 15:11-31, the parable of the lost son. Son, all I have is yours, you were lost, and now you are found. Romans 3:9-20 - we all sin. Hebrews 15:5-8 "Let your conduct be without consciousness;be content with such things as you have. For He Himself said "I will never leave nor forsake you. So we may boldly say: The Lord is my helper; I will not fear, what can man do to me? Remember those who rule over you, who have spoken the word of God to you, whose faith follow considering the outcome of their conduct. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever." 1John 1:9, " If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins..." The whole Bible is about love and forgiveness. Psalm 25, verse 13 in particular speaks of descendants receiving an inheritance. Christ died to receive us as an inheritance. What Love! Colossians 1:12.
The Bible passage that came first to my mind was the parable of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32). I don't know the dynamics of the questioner's particular situation, but I would think that the burden of reconciliation would be on the child (just as it was on the prodigal to return to his father), since the assets are the parents' to do with as they see fit. I think that the parents should make clear their willingness to be reconciled (just as the father in the parable was always waiting for his son to return), and that they should be receptive to the slightest sign of openness on the part of the child to heal the estrangement. But, in the final analysis, the decision is the parents', since the assets belong to them. Two possible alternatives that occur to me are either joint family counseling to address the cause of the estrangement, or else consultation by the parents with an estate planner or attorney who would have experience with this kind of situation, and know the full range of financial and legal options for including those whom the parents want included (such as grandchildren), and excluding those whom the parents wish to exclude.
Another option would be to do what the Prodigal Son's father did - deal with the inheritance while the parents are still alive. Hence, as is noted above, the returning Prodigal had no inheritance left, but became his Father's (and brother's) servant. This was still a much better arrangement that eating swine husks! Some estranged family members might want to get back in good graces if the parents are facing death just so they can get a portion of the estate. The family would have no way of knowing if they were being played or if the reconciliation was genuine.
Obviously the prodigal son comes to mind. We are estranged from our son going on 6 years. If he were to come back to us, we would of course forgive him. But unlike the prodigal, our son did not spend his inheritance. But actions do have consequences. I doubt the prodigal received a second inheritance. There are plenty of examples in Scripture where we see the consequences of sin. All is forgiven such as in David’s case, but David did suffer consequences. If a person divorced and it isn’t based on biblical motivations, there are significant consequences. If a son or daughter is “estranged” from their parents, there are consequences as well. We would truly be blessed if our son loved, honored, respected, was willing to extend grace and would be willing to be reconciled to us, all of which are commanded in Scripture. And out of that when Scripture says, "Blessed is a man who leaves an inheritance for his children," we see how since the love and respect from a son toward his father is absent, so too will it follow that the inheritance will be absent as well. The father cannot be blessed since his son is estranged and the consequence is two-fold. The consequences of the son’s actions affect more than himself. The father cannot enjoy being blessed for leaving an inheritance, nor can the son enjoy the receiving of the inheritance. We feel completely justified in removing any substantive inheritance from our son at this juncture. If he were to repent for dishonoring his parents and embrace reconciliation, we would of course make his inheritance available once again. It was a very difficult decision but in light of numerous accounts of consequences for sin in Scripture, we feel at peace with the little inheritance he will now have. If your children have divorced/separated/estranged, don’t feel like you’re alone. Fully one third of families are experiencing this.
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