What if your prodigal child never comes home?
Many Christians are familiar with the story of the prodigal son in the Bible. Among other things, it is a story of forgiveness and redemption. It gives parents hope. What do you tell the parent who's child never came home? The child who stayed in the pig sty and shunned their parents? How do you comfort them?
I really like this question. I must admit that I had to look up what "prodigal" means.
It's similar to the play, The Effects of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds.
There is a danger with stories like this that people in real life can be cast in the roles of characters like "prodigal son" because it becomes convenient to the parents.
I desperately want to be part of my parent's life and I want my son to be part of their life. They are wasteful and indulgent and and I am very frugal and careful with the precious resources God has given to us.
Even close family members are sure I'm the prodigal child, and they're so far off it's trajic. I'm not welcome in my parent's house whatsoever. My parents are always welcome to come stay with me. Even if I was the prodigal son, and I'm not, my parents would never allow me to come home.
It's funny because I'm a cab driver and my sister's a teacher; like my dad. She flies all over the world and blows all sorts of money on wasteful consumer goods and impulse purchases. She has never met her six year old nephew. She is the real prodigal child. She, of course, is welcome in my parent's house.
I have owned houses mortgage-free twice before I turned 40. My sister pays $1500 a month or so in rent and has never owned anything. I'm a cab driver and she's a teacher. Go figure.
If you are a believer then we must exercise faith in God's Word and prayer. Never stop praying for your children - see Job's importunity. Even in the story of prodigal child there must be a rationalization by the wayward child of the state that they are in and the need to reach out to the hand of forgiveness that God offers.
Ultimately, the responsibility is the child's to recognize their state and seek forgiveness. It is our responsibility as parents to go before God in prayer for our children and make His Word known to them so the seed.
Really, the parable is a picture of God's love to us and as parents, it's a great example of love and forgiveness that we would benefit from to emulate in our relationships with our own children.
With regards to comfort, you can only comfort someone that wants to be comforted (whether explicitly displayed or implicitly) and I personally don't believe it's right to encourage someone in something that will ultimately bring them harm - this is not shunning but it's disagreeing with a course of action.
I was the "Prodigal son" that shamed my parents for years before coming to a saving knowledge of God's love and grace. I ultimately went back home and asked their forgivenes.When my own son went that way, all we could do was turn him over to God.
you pray for that child, and if you are a Christian.... you turn to God for comfort. God made us all to be free moral agents- that child has to determine whether to change their lifestyle... and... you pray with and for the parents.
First of all, as long as that parent is alive, there's hope they will see their child come home. If we're speaking of their child's spiritual connection with God, then I would encourage that parent that as long as that child is alive, there's hope they will renew their spiritual walk with God. We need to hold onto hope, for it's on hope that we build faith. If we truly believe God never fails, then we should stand on the faithfulness of God!
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