Not everyone is a fan of the idea of “tough love.” Some usually have a problem with it when it gets directed toward young children. There is a famous Bible story with this idea being a vital part of the story, commonly called “The Prodigal Son.” Most preachers have a message to preach from this story, and I have heard several different preachers say, “Turn in your Bible please, to Luke 15, we will start reading with verse 11.” This is an essential lesson for dealing with adult children.
The Position Of Humbleness
The Prodigal son pretty much wished his father had died when he asked for, “The portion of goods that falleth to me.” (His inheritance) He was behaving self-centered, careless, and far from humble.
He went into the far country and eventually spent all of his money. There was a famine in the land, so he joined himself to a man who gave him some pig slop and sent him into a field to feed the pigs. While he was with the pigs and the husks that they would not eat, the Bible says he “came to his mind.”
Up until that moment, he was not thinking about the father. If he was not left to go through the lowest point in his life, he might have never thought about his father. If some sweet church lady had seen him and kindly told him to come with her to get cleaned up, fed, and put in a comfortable bed, he might not have ever gotten to the point where he could come to his mind and think of his father. He needed that experience to change his thinking and behavior.
Many of us have been guilty of pulling adult children up out of a hole they dug and providing for them. We do it, and In return, they are soon in trouble again. We are not capable of helping them with their foundational spiritual problem, and if they got that fixed, they would not be looking to us for help. It is difficult to say no about sending money to them when they are in jail or asking us to bring them something to eat at their “friend’s house.” Our adult children turn to us, not to God. We want so desperately for them to look up from their hole and seek God, not us. Many times they have the advantage of knowing about God. They know from whence their help could come, and as long as we keep providing, they never get to the point where they “come to their mind.” Even if they were taught nothing, our all-powerful God could do anything.
Prayer, Prayer, Prayer!
God is no respecter of persons, just as he worked in the Prodigal Son’s life, he would work in our children’s lives. When anyone looks to us for help, and not to God, we should always consider if God is using us for his glory, or if we might be stepping on his toes. We want to have the courage and faith to say “no,” and point others to Christ. I do not know if the Prodigal Son had a problem with drugs, but God could have still helped him if he had. No verse says so, but that boy’s father watched for him, and I believe he was praying for him. We need to pray for our children. We should pray for their spiritual growth and maturity, that they will come to their minds and return to their merciful father, their emotional health, their mental and physical health, and their other immediate needs. Our adult children need our prayers on a daily, and sometimes on an hourly basis. Psalm 4:3, But know that the Lord has set apart for Himself him who is Godly; The LORD will hear when I call to Him. There are many lessons to learn from this Bible story, and this particular lesson is a meaningful one for many of us.