Bible Question:

I am a Christian with morals and values and feel that I must uphold righteousness no matter what the cost. I have a sister who is marrying her stepson this Saturday. I have refused to take part in it because I feel is is biblically and morally wrong. I have been accused of judging her. I do not feel that I am judging her by taking a stand. Please tell me that I am right. I only wish to please God and Jesus. Nothing else matters.

Bible Answer:

There are several issues that we want to look at.

Marriage To Stepsons Forbidden

First, God clearly states that a woman may not marry her stepson. Fathers are also forbidden to marry a stepdaughter. This is called incest. The passage in the Bible where this can be found is in the book of Leviticus.

You shall not uncover the nakedness of your father’s wife; it is your father’s nakedness. (NASB) Leviticus 18:8

You may also be interested in a previous question and answer that discusses other forbidden marriages . It is a sin before God for a parent to marry a stepson or stepdaughter.

What About The Husband?

Marriage is sacred before God and He wants us to honor it too! Therefore, if her former husband is still alive and has not remarried, she should seek reconciliation to her ex-husband if it is possible, because God hates divorce .

“I hate divorce,” says the LORD God . . . (NASB) Malachi 2:16

If she is free to marry because she is a widow or because he has committed adultery, then she should marry someone who is a Christian if she is a Christian (1 Cor. 7:39).

“Judging”

We live in a permissive society that says everything is okay and “Do not judge me.” But that is not biblical. God does not agree. How else do we select leaders in the church? How else do we help a sinning brother stop sinning? How do we know that a person is a false teacher except by “judging”? There is a previous question and answer that will be helpful on this subject. It is “What does the Bible say word for word about judging others?” There is also a very significant and interesting study from the Sermon on the Mount that should help to explain Jesus’ comments on “judging.”

If she is a believer, I would encourage you to go to your sister on the subject. Explain that she is committing a serious sin. Your focus should be her spiritual growth and honor for God. You will be salt and light, even if rejected. God asks us to confront a sinning brother or sister in love, gentleness, and with respect.

Brethren, even if a man is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, lest you too be tempted. (NASB) Gal. 6:1

And if your brother sins, go and reprove him in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother. But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that BY THE MOUTH OF TWO OR THREE WITNESSES EVERY FACT MAY BE CONFIRMED. And if he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax-gatherer. (NASB) Matthew 18:15-17

1 Corinthians 5 is about incest. In this chapter the apostle Paul warns the Christians in Corinth not to associate with a believer who refuses to obey God (1 Cor. 5:9-13). It is a strong passage.

Conclusion:

If your sister is not a Christian, you should talk to her about her relationship with the Lord Jesus . The Lord may use this situation to draw her to Himself. For the rest of this conclusion, I am assuming your sister is a Christian. I would encourage you to talk with your sister in a loving, gracious way to please and honor God. There is nothing wrong with evaluating a person’s behavior and seeking to help her. But it is a sin to jump to conclusions without all of the facts and to freely talk to others about another’s sin. It is also a sin to ignore sin and say nothing. In 1 Corinthians 5, the apostle Paul was very upset with the Christians who were ignoring the incest that was being committed. May the Lord bless you as you stand for righteousness. Be loving in a spirit of gentleness.