One Perfect Parent

January 22, 2018 at 5:15 am 1 comment


Turpin House

The Turpin House / Credit: Reuters

One of their only contacts with the outside world was when four of the kids were allowed to step outside their house in Perris, California to install some sod in the front yard, with their mother coldly watching from inside the front window.  A neighbor who passed by and offered a friendly greeting to the children was surprised when none of them spoke a word in return to her.  But one of the children, a 17-year-old girl, had been plotting her escape from the family compound where her parents, David and Louise Turpin, had held her and her twelve siblings, who range in age from 2 to 29, captive for years.  She ran away and called the police using a cell phone she had found in the house.

As details of the children’s living arrangements have emerged, the picture that they paint is nothing short of horrifying.  To keep their abuse from being discovered, the Turpin parents made their children stay up all night and sleep all day.  They also tortured their children by feeding them next to nothing while they ate pies in front of them, by punishing them for getting water on their wrists while washing their hands, by allowing them to shower only once a year, and by tying them up with chains and padlocks.  The couple has pleaded not guilty to the accusations and are each being held on $9 million bail.

Obviously, it is difficult to deduce and decipher the pure evil that would move two parents to commit such heinous crimes against their own children.  Then again, it is also difficult to overestimate and over-celebrate the righteous bravery of a 17-year-old girl whose phone call to the police not only led to her own rescue, but to the rescue of her brothers and sisters.

It is at a time like this in the face of a story like this that we need to be reminded that, even as some earthly parents do their worst, we have a heavenly Father who loves us well.  The Turpin children were forced to stay up in the dark.  We have a heavenly Father who invites us to walk in His light (Isaiah 2:5).  The Turpin children were deliberately starved.  We have a heavenly Father who gives us food at just the right times (Psalm 104:27).  The Turpin children were denied basic hygiene needs and baths.  We have a heavenly Father who invites us to joyfully bathe in the waters of baptism (1 Peter 3:21).  The Turpin children were tied up.  We have a heavenly Father who sent His Son to untie us from that which binds us (Luke 13:15-16).

As a pastor, I have heard story after story of people who have been hurt by their parents.  Though, thankfully, none of the stories I have encountered have been nearly as horrific as the story of the Turpins, there are many children – both young and grown – who carry around deep scars.  There are many children who need the Father to fill what their father, or mother, would not or could not give to them.  There are many children who need the Father to love them like their father, or mother, would not or could not love them.

Our Father in heaven has the love that we need.  He loves us so much, the Scriptures say, that even our worst sins need not incur His eternal wrath.  In the book of Hosea, the nation of Israel is repeatedly betraying the one true God by chasing after many false gods.  Yet, even in the midst of their deep sin, while the Father declares His displeasure, He nevertheless promises, “I will show love…and I will save them…they will be called ‘children of the living God’” (Hosea 1:7, 10).

While some earthly parents may abuse their children for no apparent reason, we have a heavenly Father who loves us in spite of our sin for just one reason – the reason of His grace.  His grace is a grace so strong that it makes us His children through His Son.

Now that’s some awesome parenting.

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Jamie Carter  |  January 22, 2018 at 8:03 am

    The Turpin family belongs to a Christian movement called Quiver-full. It’s name is from Psalm 127:

    1 Unless the Lord builds the house,
    the builders labor in vain.
    Unless the Lord watches over the city,
    the guards stand watch in vain.
    2 In vain you rise early
    and stay up late,
    toiling for food to eat—
    for he grants sleep to those he loves.

    3 Children are a heritage from the Lord,
    offspring a reward from him.
    4 Like arrows in the hands of a warrior
    are children born in one’s youth.
    5 Blessed is the man
    whose quiver is full of them.
    They will not be put to shame
    when they contend with their opponents in court.

    The believe that the father is the head family and that the wife has the duty to submit to her husband in everything (as in a Christian Patriarchy, a stronger interpretation of Complementarianism). As in the Bible, children owe respect to their parents even when they are fully grown adults. They could have warped 2 Thessalonians 3:10, ” For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.”” This horrible abuse, they did in the name of God and through their belief in God. Their kids don’t know a lot about the outside world, but they do know the Bible. Other Quiverfull families include the Duggars and the Naughlers. The former is so well known that little needs to be said, as to the latter, they’re the “Off-Grid” QF family whose ten kids were taken away by child welfare services because their housing was little more than a drafty shack with no insulation or heat. All three families home-school to some extent, some participate in “unschooling” – but if one were to try to describe such families as simply as possible, the most apt description would be devoted people who desire to live out the Word of God as literally as possible by having large families, living according to Biblical principles, and being separate from the world.

    Reply

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