God’s Kindness Leads Us Back Home

God’s Kindness Leads Us Back Home

No matter how old you are, you never stop needing a heavenly Father to scoop you up and love you well. Regardless of your experience with earthly fathers, let this Father’s Day be a reminder that you’re not alone. Your heavenly Father loves you, deeply and unconditionally.

In this blog, taken from Tom Lane’s book Heritage, discover our Father’s love, and learn practical tools on how to respond to children in crisis.

 

Growing up, my dad would often say to me, “If you rob a bank or murder someone, I am still going to love you. I may not like what you do, but you will always be my son.” Although ministry wasn’t his plan for me because it carried the risk of failure, my dad supported my decision and gave me freedom to fail in my search for purpose and significance.

Over the years, I have learned that a father’s primary responsibility is to teach His children about God and His ways and to help them find eternal purpose. Fulfilling this responsibility takes consistent guidance throughout their lives. All children search for identity and purpose, and their discovery process is not always smooth, convenient, or the method of our choosing. Some break away from their parents’ guidance as they search, but a wise father will build and maintain the bridge necessary for his children to come home.

Let’s look at the parable of the prodigal son found in Luke 15. It’s the story of a son who rejects his father’s advice and makes a series of wrong choices, only to return home after making a mess of his life. This biblical story sounds like many family situations in America today. Jesus tells the story of how God the Father responds to His children. It reveals the way to respond to actions of independence and provides parents a model for relating to them.

In the story, the father releases his son, without apparent resistance, to search for his own significance. Maybe he knew a lecture would not change his son’s mind. Our children will not find their significance in the fulfillment of goals we have chosen for their lives. They must identify their plans and desires for themselves. Our role is to provide encouragement and guidance for them in their search.

Giving his son the inheritance with no conditions, the father empowered his son’s freedom of choice and gave him permission to fail. Our children are not empowered to search if they cannot fail. Failure is not always the best method for finding significance, but failure brought the prodigal son to an understanding of his own identity, gave him a desire to connect to something bigger than himself, and helped him understand the value of family. The inheritance was wasted, but something greater was gained.

Responding to adult children in crisis is difficult when they have made wrong choices. We may feel justified in being critical or in showing tough love. However, this response will erect barriers, removing them from our love and influence. What seems natural may vent our frustration, but it doesn’t reflect God’s nature.

With God as our model, we must be gracious and kind yet not compromise our beliefs. We must allow our children the freedom of choice and be willing to forgive and restore relationship when there’s a right response, not holding their mistakes over their heads. Prayer is the appropriate place for us to pour out our concerns, frustrations, and passionate pleas for action. God knows all things. He can apply the right pressure to jog our children’s thinking in a way that changes their hearts, returning them to what is right.

Lastly, the story of the prodigal son teaches us this: it’s never too late to do what is right. If you have a wayward child, he’s been in God’s care all along. You can begin today. Release your child to find significance by freeing him from your criticisms, threats of rejection, or attempts of control.

Simply ask God to give you insight and wisdom on exactly what to do. I know He will give you grace to accomplish this important work. During the process, hold celebration in your heart and expect your child’s return. Remember the big picture: It ain’t over ‘til it’s over!

  

 

Continue reading in the Heritage paperback book as Tom Lane provides practical tools, biblical foundation, and inspiration for imparting godly character to the generations entrusted to you. Order yours today!

 

 

Get the companion Heritage DVD video teaching series.


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