For the one with a prodigal, what you should know
It came in response to a quiet message that slipped into my inbox one day. “I’d be happy for any wisdom or tidbits you can give me,” she said, “on this thing of having a prodigal.”
Not sensing an immediate impression from the Holy Spirit, best Guide and Counselor, I sat with her question. For several days, and it lingered right there in my mind.
Then today, I knew. I knew what to say, and this is the message I sent: “As I was thinking over your question, the one thing that came to me was the importance of unconditional love. That doesn’t mean accepting any sin, but they will know it in a heartbeat if you have an attitude of condemnation and a lack of acceptance of them.
“You have the opportunity here to show them how God, their heavenly Father, loves them in spite of any behaviors, and if you walk in judgment, you will alienate them further. I can tell you freely because I don’t know you, and so please let the Holy Spirit apply the truth of this as He knows best. Even when our son was at his worst, we followed the Holy Spirit’s prompting and reached out to him at different times and in different ways, and he knew that no matter what, his parents truly loved him even at his worst.”
I’ve chosen to be rather frank with you today because I am sensing your need. While our son was off in the “far country,” living in the proverbial pigpen, we still loved him. And the way we did it could vary.
When his father learned that he was sleeping on a simple mattress just thrown onto the floor, he said, “Would you like me to buy you a bed?” ‘Cause it pained him. And the answer to that was a quick, “Sure!”
So we took him to pick out a bed, Father paid, and then we fed him. At his favorite place in the whole, wide world where the wings are spicy and hot, we ate. And then we took his new bed to the hellhole in which he was living.
At that time in his life, he was working very close to home. He was pulling double shifts, scarcely eating, and so, knowing this, we would stop in every once in awhile as the Holy Spirit laid it on our hearts, and we’d drop off a foot-long Subway sandwich for him. We’d smile and talk and offer love shaped like that sub, and then we would turn, and we’d leave.
Here’s why it was so important to do that even though–and listen to me here–we were the ones who had to evict him: when he came to his lowest point, his time of crisis, we had the foundation, that loving relationship, and he was willing and able to reach out.
‘Cause we never really left him.
To the one who told us that children are the ones who should pursue their parents, I say, “Rubbish!” It was the Father, after all, who first gave His love even when we were at our worst.
Did you hear that? “We love Him because He first loved us,” and this, “While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
When that statement was made in Mr. Schrock’s hearing one day, he turned and went to his son, and he asked him this penetrating question, “Where would you be if I hadn’t pursued you?” If I had waited, in other words, for you to come find me, to honor me?
And, nearly verbatim, this was his answer. “Well, I would for sure still be in my sin, and I would either be dead or in prison.”
If you are holding condemnation or judgment in your heart, here’s where you fall on your knees and repent. You are doing to another what God’s not done to you! Further, you do not understand the great love of the Lord who loved you while you were in your own sinful state.
And that, my dear friend, is the best wisdom I can give you from our own parental journey. It’s the best hope you have for your own.
First, know that you’re loved, that He came for you in your sin, and then from that love, pass it on.
Yes. You can.
Most warmly, then,