Summary: Sermon Series by Dr. Tim Pollock
Many good moms and dads have had to undergo trying circumstances in life. There are often times where one or more children have broken their hearts. Unfortunately, there are those parents that choose to deny reality and try to act as though nothing is wrong with their family. It’s hard to blame them as there is no pain any worse than spending fifteen or twenty years giving of your life’s blood, time, effort, prayers, and money and then watching sons and daughters go off track. Life is so uncertain. The joy over the birth of a child can be turned into terrible sadness over a wayward son or daughter. We know that large families are a blessing. Yet while having many children brings much joy, many children can also bring much sorrow – that’s just the law of numbers.
Read this verse and feel Solomon’s pain. In these verses we see somebody who is very open and honest and raw about the way they are feeling as they acknowledge that their own son or daughter is foolish. Being in denial about your children’s sin doesn’t do anybody any good. White washing their sin, denying or shifting the blame onto a schoolteacher, peer or society just compounds the problem. I once read something that Pop Singer Katy Perry’s dad said. Her dad, who is a devout Christian and Minister, said that his wife and he were broken hearted to see how their daughter has turned out. She is not just off base; she is openly mocking the things of God. I appreciate the fact that Katy’s mom and dad are doing what this verse says – they are overcome with sorrow rather than white washing it or shifting responsibility. The reason this is important is because if we deny responsibility, we won’t cry out for the mercy of God. The mercy of God is where the healing comes! Healing cannot come when I stick my head in the sand.
Being a wise parent means taking responsibility for at least some part our child’s actions. It is saying to God and others, “I didn’t follow Scripture fully.” On the other hand, every son or daughter will eventually stand before God alone. Ultimately, every foolish choice is their own, nobody made them sin. In some sense, we as parents can almost put a loaded gun in their hand and pull the trigger back when we allow or create an environment of temptation. At the end of the matter, however, every person sins of their own free will.
Regardless, it doesn’t do a parent any good to keep beating themselves up for family failures. We only rob other children and grandchildren of the lessons that we have learned. When an adult child walks away from God, it is what it is, and we must then move on and take appropriate steps to protect our family legally, financially and relationally. After we have done so, then we need to make the best of the situation that we possibly can, and find peace. If you as a parent have completely, genuinely, and full heartedly acknowledged your shortcomings, and gone before God in repentance, then you can be sure it’s not the Holy Spirit that keeps bringing up that sin – it’s Satan the Accuser! Paul gives us a sanctified look at the life lessons he had learned through the decades in Galatians 6:1, “…restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.” For parents, the worst thing we can do is point fingers and blame our mates, we must consider ourselves first and then run together into the arms of the Lord!
6 Actions to Take for Those Who Love the Lord When a Child Becomes a Prodigal:
#1 – Pray and Identify any Personal Responsibility
Samuel reminded Israel in 1 Samuel 12:23 about the time that he had spent as prophet, priest, and king by stating, “God forbid that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you.” We might muse, “What did I ever do to my child to make him or her to turn out this way?” Well, it may not be a lot of wrongs that we did, but just that we didn’t pray for our child, as we ought to. If we are honest, we will realize we are human. Acceptance of our humanness then causes us to realize that my child’s sin is to some degree, our sin.
#2 – Acknowledge Failures to God and Ask Forgiveness from the Prodigal
We have to clear the air with God first, like David did in Psalms 51:4a, “Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight…” The reason we have to ask forgiveness from the prodigal as well as God is to remove every rock for a sinner to hide under. We humans will hold on to any excuse. We can and will be quite happy to blame our parents for our own misdeeds. Parents, who confess their parenting failures to the child, remove those excuses.