A month after my partner and I started living together, she got pregnant, but I thought that she had been unfaithful to me. So I ordered a DNA test, and the child is mine. The question I have is: Was it a sin for me to ask for a DNA test?

Dear Friend,

You ask if it was a sin for you to have requested a DNA test to prove that your son was your biological child. In order to answer, we must first contrast the difference between “sinful” behavior and “unwise” behavior.

To determine whether something is sinful or not sinful, there must be a measuring stick or standard with which to compare that thing. Many people believe that their own consciences are sufficient to judge between right and wrong, without any external standard. However, the environment and circumstances in which a person grows up can cause that person to believe that wrong is right.

Take, for example, a child who grows up being taught to steal or pick pockets. That child is conditioned to think that the more he steals, the more his parent will be pleased. Pleasing the parent seems like the “right” thing to do. So the child’s natural God-given conscience is distorted by what seems right in the current circumstances. When this happens consistently, that confused conscience is no longer a reliable standard of right and wrong.

That’s why God gave us the Ten Commandments as the ultimate standard of right and wrong. And His Son Jesus Christ, whom He sent to earth to pay the penalty that we all deserve for having broken them, summed up all the Commandments with what has been called the Golden Rule. It says, “Do to others what you would have them do to you.”(1)

Asking for a DNA test is proof that you do not trust your son’s mother. Applying the Golden Rule to your situation, you need to ask yourself how you would feel if she did something to show that she doesn’t trust you. Would you feel betrayed? Would you feel angry?

Is it a sin to lack trust? There is nothing in the Commandments to indicate that it is wrong. In fact, if prior unfaithfulness has occurred, then it is generally considered wise to lack trust.

However, if she has never done anything to indicate unfaithfulness, then it was unwise of you to require the DNA test. If trust had been established before, then you destroyed that trust when you asked for the test.

The fact that you are not married to your child’s mother, however, shows a lack of commitment as well as a lack of trust anyway. Although marriage does not guarantee faithfulness, it does show commitment and trust. If you love your child’s mother, then make a commitment and plan a more stable future for your child by getting married. And since you do not want to be guilty of sin, by getting married you will be following God’s standard for sexual purity.

Marriage is not an event or a party; instead it is a statement of commitment and trust that can take place with no party and almost no cost. Those who put off marriage because they cannot afford a big party demonstrate that they do not understand God’s plan for the family.

We wish you the best,

1 Mt 7:12