I have been married for twenty years, and almost all that time I was unfaithful to my wife with different women. I have several children as a result of those relationships. Of those that I am in contact with, one is sixteen and another is fifteen years old. Should I look out for them? Should I try to find them and have a relationship with them and help them financially? I urgently need an answer.

Dear Friend,

Thank you for telling us your story. There may be many men who, like you, are asking the same questions and will benefit from the answers.

It is clear that your conscience is causing you to ask these questions. In the past you have ignored your conscience, but now you realize that your actions in the past have implications and consequences in the present.

Many men in your position do not have the courage to face the consequences. They are afraid of upsetting their legitimate wives and children, and they are afraid of how their lives might be financially impacted by claiming more children. They are afraid of possible rejection by their nonmarital children, and they are afraid of conflict with the mothers of those children. Such fears keep these men from doing the right thing, and they mute their consciences so that they can live with themselves.

The nonmarital children grow up, become adults, and never stop asking what they did wrong to cause their father not to love them. They live with rejection, and many times anger. They live with mothers who are frequently bitter and angry as well. And they usually live in poverty. They tell us their stories, and they try to forget, but the negative emotions stay with them for years.

If you have the courage to do the right thing, then the answer to all of your questions is “Yes!” Yes, you should find them. And yes, you should help support them financially. But don’t expect that they will welcome you with open arms. There are too many years of hurt standing between you. It will take years to overcome the negative impact of your past actions. So it will be very difficult, but it is still the right thing to do. And the sooner you begin, the better.

Our Heavenly Father looks out for us even when we ignore Him or reject Him. He never stops loving us, and He will never leave us. He is the perfect example of fatherly love, and if you let Him, He will help you confront the mess that you have made. Ask Him to forgive you, in Jesus’ name, for your infidelity and for the other ways that you have failed. Then call upon Him every day to give you the strength to do the right thing for all your children.

We wish you well,