Prodigal Children - Six Things You Absolutely Must Do
Watching your prodigal children make choices that you fear will cause pain and consequences and you know are out of God's will is heart-wrenching. The parable of the prodigal son in Luke 15:11-32 provides the model for six things you absolutely must do when dealing with your prodigal children:
1. Influence for Good. Conduct yourself in a way that doesn't do further damage to your child or the relationship. Don't shame, ridicule, or rip your child apart. Let your child know how much worth he/she has to you and God. Don't equate behavior with worth-remember, God goes after His lost sheep because He loves them so much, even when they are clueless. The prodigal's father didn't tell him he was stupid for leaving or threaten him with consequences; he treated him with dignity instead.
2. Choose Boundaries Carefully. It is not a time to make idle threats in anger. Be careful what you say. Don't act in a way that you will later regret. Carefully consider any threats, boundaries and consequences you set, because you want to know you did what you had to do, if things don't go well. The prodigal's father gave him his inheritance and then let him go, but didn't offer him more when he ran out of money.
3. Refuse to Enable. You cover up out of fear of consequences for your child and yourself. You don't want your child to experience pain and you don't want to experience the pain you will feel watching the hurt, but you have to allow natural consequences to occur. The prodigal's father let his son leave to become hungry and homeless, until he saw the light.
4. Maintain an Open Door. Don't sever your relationship. You can hate the sin but love your child and still have a relationship with him/her. Make room for your child's homecoming when he/she "sees the light." Always show that you will have grace and mercy and a heart for restoration. The prodigal's father welcomed him home and rejoiced at his return.
5. Remember Individual Choice. True, you weren't a perfect parent and your fears and guilt may be telling you it is your fault, but it isn't. Admit your faults while remembering that your child is responsible for his/her choices before God. The prodigal's father didn't take responsibility for his son's choices or let guilt determine his response; he let his adult son exercise his right to take his inheritance and leave.
6. Show your Broken Heart. You have anger, sadness, fear, hurt, disappointment, and pain. It is easy to show your anger, but harder to show the other emotions that show your vulnerability. Your prodigal child needs to see all your emotions and hear you speak all your truth in love. The prodigal's father let his son see his whole heart.
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by: Karla Downing