Summary: These are a series of messages in order to help encourage and strengthen the home as a unit
HOPE FOR HURTING PARENTS
The deepest hurts that we experience in life come from our families -- our spouse, our children, our relatives. They can be ungrateful, they can be unkind, they can be unfaithful. This story that we’re going to look at today is Jesus’ most famous parable. It’s a story that gives hope for hurting parents. It’s not just a lesson about God’s love, but it’s a lesson about parenting.
I’m no authority about parenting. I feel like Charles Shed, who used to do a seminar on parenting when he was single. It was called, "How to Raise Your Children." Then he said after he got married, he changed the title to "Some Suggestions for Parents". Then, after he had his first kid, he change it to "Feeble Hints to Fellow Strugglers". And after he had three kids, he said he stopped giving the lecture. [A lady jumped on the bus one day with five kids. The bus diver said, "Are all of these your kids or is it a picnic?" She said, "They’re all mine and it’s no picnic." -- Another: The lady asked her husband, after he took their son to school, "Did Billy cry when you took him to school?" He said, "No, but his teacher did."]
I’m no authority, but God is an authority and that’s what we’re going to look at today. One of the things that has really bothered me is why is it that godly parents have kids that go astray? Why?
I don’t know the answer to that. I don’t think there is a single answer. I don’t think you can know. There are a lot of factors and I think a lot of parents carry a lot of guilt thinking that they’re the only thing responsible for their kids. They’re not. There are a lot of other factors you don’t have any control over. God has given us a free will.
As a pastor, more than other people, I see the hurt and the heartbreak that happens in a family when one family member chooses a lifestyle that messes everybody else up. It hurts.
Today I want us to look at this story. I think this story illustrates what do you do when your children grow beyond your control. I don’t want to talk about, Why? I don’t know the reasons why. I want to talk about, What do you do when your children grow beyond your control. We see three stages in this story.
STAGE ONE: THE REBELLION OF THE SON.
v. 11 "Jesus said, `There’s a man who had two sons and the younger one said to his father, "Father, give me my share of the estate." So he divided his property between them and not long after that the younger son got all he had together and he sat of for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living.’"
Stage one is rebellion. In every parent-child relationship there’s going to be a struggle. It’s called a struggle for control. Who’s in charge? It’s a power control. At birth, as a parent, you are 100% in control. But as they grow, the power gets transferred. Your control is not permanent. Kids want control sooner than we want to give it. They think they deserve it sooner than we’re ready to give it out. Kids have a sin nature. If you don’t believe, "All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God" you’ve never been a parent. We all do have our own stubborn ways.
Here we have a classic confrontation. V. 12 "Father, give me..." Circle "give me" -- that’s the root of rebellion. If I could just do as I please, if I could just be my own boss, if I didn’t have to answer to anyone life would be great. He was fed up with the farm.
Rebellion is unpredictable. He has two sons. They are radically different. One is strong willed. One is complacent. Both of them had problems, though. You can never tell which one is going to be the rebellious one. It’s not age related. Here it is the younger son was the one who caused the problems. When does it happen? I don’t know. I’ve known some kids in diapers who were controlling the family.
In verse 13, it says "He got all he had together and sat off for a distant country and squandered his wealth in wild living." This guys heads for Hollywood. He’s going to live it up! He goes to Sunset Strip in Jerusalem and gets in his Camelac and cruises the Boulevard. He’s having one great time! Evidently this guy had grown beyond his parent’s control. His father could not keep him at home. When does it happen? I don’t know. I think it happens sooner than we’d like to admit it. Or sooner than we wish it would be. I imagine he was 17, 18, 19 years old