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How can ministry families respond when gripped by crisis? Based on Barb's and my experience, here are a few suggestions:

1. Accept God's forgiveness given to parents and children who painfully face their mistakes. Such forgiveness does not erase the consequences of past errors, but it does guarantee a new start through our Lord's loving grace. Life is not over.

2. Discover God's divine network. As we prayerfully place family members in his hands, the Holy Spirit has many unnamed heroes upon whom he can draw to aid our loved ones. Ask him to do just that. And while awaiting his response, we can be part of that network ourselves in answer to someone else's prayers.

3. Talk openly about your feelings with your spouse. Share concerns. This is a time for closeness, not distance.

4. Find a support system: a trusted confidant, a mature minister friend, a competent Christian psychologist. Seek wise counsel, full of objectivity and perspective.

5. Maintain hope. Reading the Scriptures and spending time ...

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