Thursday, May 16, 2013

Let Go

It’s this scene of reconciliation that we parents want to experience. We  tend to forget the first part of the story:

And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living. (Luke 15:12)

The father didn’t have to give him anything, but he gave him the two things we often keep from our children – the opportunity to be wrong as well as allowing them to live with the consequences. That part’s the hardest. We have a tendency to continue picking them up along the way, helping them back to … To what? To continue doing the same thing knowing we’ll be there to pick them up?

When our children were learning to walk, didn’t we offer them some help, some instruction, but eventually allowed them to fall and start again? We don’t we do that when they turn their backs on what we’ve taught and join the bevy of prodigals,

In this parable, Christ tells of letting go.  There is no trip by the father to check on his son’s welfare. There is no indication that gossip reached home, so we have no idea whether the father knew what was happening. We do know from Bible stories that news spread fairly quickly about John and Jesus, so it may be inferred that the youth’s indiscretions were known by the family.

Too often today, children return – or remain at – home, expecting parents to subsidize the lifestyle that the prodigal sought. Too often today, parents continue to financially and physically support their child in a style that could be described:

And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living. (Luke 15:13)

Too often today we’re afraid that if we don’t subsidize, the child will not live to realize:

I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants. (Luke 15:18-19)

We do not have the faith to place that portion of our lives into God’s hands. We should, since we’ve returned to our Father ourselves with that same prayer - I have sinned against heaven, and before thee.

We can – and certainly should be – teaching our children from infancy. We can – and just as certainly – should let go, even when we think they may be hurt physically and emotionally. God gave us that blessed freedom to do as we pleased. He knew exactly what we would do with it. Then, He gave Himself to provide for our return.

For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry. (Luke 15:24)

That fifteenth chapter in Luke gives several examples of lost and found. Each one contains a celebration. The one I like best, though is:

I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance. (Luke 15:7)

God allows us the freedom to be prodigals. Can we follow His example for our own children?

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