I have 4 beautiful, intelligent, sophisticated, opinionated, spoiled rotten, loved to the core, abundantly blessed, healthy, children. Who have always been at the core of my heart. They are very important to me, and l love them with a Father’s love. My wife and I have taught them to think for themselves. We taught them the word of God and the importance of being a believer in Christ. I personally have led each child to the place of salvation and baptized them. It was and still is a great honor in my life. Having pastored two churches, each child played numerous roles in our inception. My sons preached at the pulpit a few times. My girls danced and help lead worship songs. My youngest son led worship for awhile. My wife and two daughters have been on a missions trip with me. It was always great when the family ministered together.
Unfortunately, when my sons became adults things changed in our dynamic. They both have decided to become prodigals of the faith or have currently decided to walk their own path. We always told them to have their own relationship with God and not to base their relationship with Him from mine or my wife’s personal relationship. We respect their choices and still believe in them. I still love them just the same regardless of there present choices. Nothing has changed in that area.
I rebelled against my parents when I was young, but it was the opposite direction. I became a Christian at 13 when no one else in my household was one. My understanding of what my boys are going through is lacking to say the least. I am proud of them. They both don’t profess to be a Christian and still sin like the devil like most Christians in the church today. They were taught never to be religious or phony in the faith.
I can’t help but ask myself the parental questions; we all have asked at one point in our lives. Where did I go wrong in regards to raising them in the faith? Did I show them hypocrisy? Was I too religious? Did I put too much on them being pastor’s kids? Did I over discipline or under discipline? Was I not clear enough in the family bible studies? Was I too strict or not strict enough? Why have they turned their back on the God they once served as children and early teenagers? Where have I failed? The truth of the matter is that all of our children were homeschooled and have been a part of the Church life since their births. My wife and I can't blame anyone else but ourselves, and we don't. As the father, I take the greatest responsibility.
Once again, my love for them has not changed, and I am proud of them as a father could be. They both have jobs. One is going to college and one thinking about going to college. They both have their own place to call home. They simply lack a relationship with Christ which is the most important thing to have for any person on the planet.
Where did the father go wrong in the story of the prodigal son?
Luke 15:11-32 And He said, A certain man had two sons. (12) And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that is coming to me. And he divided his living to them. (13) And not many days afterward, the younger son gathered all together and went away into a far country. And there he wasted his property, living dissolutely. (14) And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land. And he began to be in want. (15) And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country. And he sent him into his fields to feed pigs. (16) And he was longing to fill his belly with the husks that the pigs ate, and no one gave to him. (17) And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father abound in loaves, and I perish with hunger! (18) I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, Father, I have sinned against Heaven and before you (19) and am no more worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired servants. (20) And he arose and came to his father. But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him. (21) And the son said to him, Father, I have sinned against Heaven and before you, and am no more worthy to be called your son. (22) But the father said to his servants, Bring the best robe and put it on him. And put a ring on his hand and shoes on his feet. (23) And bring the fattened calf here and kill it. And let us eat and be merry, (24) for this my son was dead and is alive again, he was lost and is found. And they began to be merry. (25) And his elder son was in the field. And as he came and drew near the house, he heard music and dancing. (26) And he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant. (27) And he said to him, Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has received him safe and sound. (28) And he was angry and would not go in. Therefore his father came out and entreated him. (29) And answering he said to his father, Lo, these many years I have served you, neither did I transgress your commandment at any time. And yet you never gave me a kid so that I might make merry with my friends. (30) But when this son of yours came, who has devoured your living with harlots, you have killed for him the fattened calf. (31) And he said to him, Son, you are always with me, and all that I have is yours. (32) It was right that we should make merry and be glad, for this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; and was lost, and is found.
It appears to me that the Father of the prodigal gave his son room to figure out where the true meaning of life lied. He did not desire for his son to figure this out the hard way, but some folk are just that way. ( Pig headed) Our children have to be given room to hear from God themselves. I know this is not popular with some Christian parents, but God does not force His truth on any one. If you have to force truth on someone then it is not truth. God’s word is clear on what to teach and train our children. Teaching and training are twofold and go hand in hand. Training gives demonstration to what is being taught. Every child belonging to a Christian family has the ability to rebel against the faith they are raised in. Parents should not blame themselves for their children's behaviors. As parents, our job is to make it harder for our children to rebel against God’s truth. It doesn't mean they never will; it just means they will have a hard time rebelling. The reality is that we are not perfect, and we make mistakes. I am confident that God’s word gives the parent and the child an arsenal of information on how we should all live.Every family should have a foundation grounded in God's truth.
So what are some tips in dealing with the Prodigal Life?
1. Pray without ceasing. The greatest weapon parents have against the enemy lying to their children is prayer. Praying moms and fathers can shake the course of time. Your consistent and spirit led prayers can change the lives of your prodigal children. Never give up on the power of prayer. God is hearing and working for His people even when we can't see it.
2. Continue to speak over them. When my children were young they were prophesied over by many different people. God spoke words for them through my wife and I. Throughout the years, we would remind the living God about these words of truth. We would speak over them His truth, and we are still doing it today.
3. Don't live your life with regrets. Parents find it hard to not blame themselves for their children's behavior. It is true that parents have some blame to take in regards to their children's behavior and up bringing. However, the full accountability falls on the child. We all have choices to make and our up bringing should never be a crutch for our current behavior that is against God's truth. Now I know there are religious folk who will judge you or condemn you because of the sinful behavior of your children. Don't give in to their blinded and self absorbed comments. If the Living God, who walked in the garden each day, could or would not stop Adam and Eve from rebellion and making their own choices. What leads people to think that we can stop our children from rebelling if they choose to do so?