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Although I agree with all biblical references within the answer above, I do not believe the bible teaches nor does God want us to stand back and watch our children 'crash'. I had a son, who at legal age, was given a prescription by the doctor which turned into a 10 year battle. I was given the above advise from a Pastor. However, I believe God often saves us from our own demise, so...as He is our Father, we are the earthly fathers and mothers who should follow His example. I believe we are to reach out to our 'prodigals' as often as we can and boldly and lovingly express our concern and assure them that we are there for them over and over. The dark side is waiting for our 'prodigals' and today's world is so full of 'knowledge' of what is the right thing to do. Be it from someones biblical perspective or a humanistic opinion, it is nevertheless advise coming from another's' heart. Those who possess the opinion expressed in the first response most likely do not have (or yet have) a prodigal to deal with. Once that comes into play, their opinion may change. I believe the parents of such a child must refer to the bible and pray earnestly and long to God for direction regarding their personal situation. God will definitely direct your path is you ask Him. I went against everything I was told and stayed on my knees for hours at a time. God showed me verses to follow and often gave me verses to present to my prodigal, who is now (10 years later) an inspiration to many. My faith in God's direction was frustrating to some over the years but it has now become a respected view (and belief) and softened the hearts of unbelievers who watched over the years. My son's faith strengthened in the journey where he has led many to Christ in the last couple of years. Granted we are talking addiction here, but drugs are often the root in this day and age of our children becoming prodigals. Sometimes, not due to their own accord. Proverbs 22:6 says 'Raise up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it'. My son told me his Christian faith in Jesus was sometimes all he had to hold on to, along with knowing I was a pillar in my faith as well. I am not saying you need to meddle in a young adults lifestyle. Should they choose a lifestyle that is far from their early Christian walk, I still believe you should pray, quote scripture and love them to pieces. Staying a 'Pillar' of faith and strength to your prodigal in private and staying respectfully neutral in public so as not to push your opinion or cast judgement along with others on your prodigal will be a strong show of faith and conviction that will remind them of how they were raised and what is right.
My answer is based on the experience which my wife and I had dealing with a somewhat rebellious, teenage daughter who seemed to be walking away from Jesus. Our daughter, now 41, is a committed Jesus Followers who is married to a terrific, Jesus-following husband. Together they are raising four kids to love Jesus. I believe that has happened because God showed my wife and I what I will share with you below. My advice is simple! Hold your children and other loved ones whom do not yet know Jesus with a very open hand. Release the fist with which you're trying to force them to do what you want them to do. You can because God loves them more than you do! (John 3:16-17) Do a Proverbs 3:5-6! Relax and claim your promise in Psalm 103:17-18 that your children's children will know God! Rest in your heavenly Father's related commitment to you that He will never allow anything to cross your path which you will be unable to handle in Christ! (1 Corinthians 10:13 MSG) In the context of the above, pray fervently...without ceasing, joyfully... while you let God do what He wants in his way to fulfill your promises! (James 5:16b & 1 Thessalonians 5:16-17) Blessings all!
My answer is unique in that I'm a prodigal daughter. I was raised in a semi-Christian home. (Mother was Christian, Father was working alcoholic) I was exposed to both sides of life from a very early age. So, why did I stray from the Lord Jesus Christ? ANGER If there is anything I can relate with most young people about, it is the anger that is bottled up inside them that they are taught is wrong or they have no right to feel or worse, they have no right to express. I was so angry at my parents for everything, not realizing I was really angry at God Almighty, Who was the head over all things Eph 1:22. I had read the scripture that all things were working together for my good, but I just couldn't wrap my head around God was the Head over my Dad coming in fighting mad drunk every evening. Then, I wasn't allow to express my own anger or fear. The first chance I had to escape, I did. Much to my parents sorrow, my own personal injury and harm. However, in Psa 139:7, Where can we go that we can flee from God? I was never able to flee from God's Hand on my life. My Mother's teaching had woven itself so tightly around my heart and soul, I had no choice but to come to myself in my pigsty, and come home! When I came back home (church) I was so shocked! I never expected to run into the big brothers in the house. I'm so glad that I was determined to be in church, determined that no devil out of hell was going to stop me! The worst thing I had to overcome was the judgemental stares, comments, whispers (just loud enough you can hear) and side glares from fellow parishioners. Brothers and Sisters in Christ, this should not be. Remember in the prodigal son story, the brother came in from the field and was so angry with the Father? The Father begged him to rejoice with him, his little brother had returned. On a personal note, had I not been so determined to be back in church, I would have left again. I share my story not to browbeat anyone, but as a friend. God does reach out to bring His children home. We need to be welcoming no matter what we know or think we know about them. We are not God, we don't have a heaven or hell to put them in. If you are a prodigal son or daughter reading this, be determined... It doesn't matter what anyone says or does. They don't have a heaven or hell to put you in. Only a holy, righteous, loving, merciful, gracious God can do you. Come home! You are loved! Jesus is waiting on you just like He was for me! Be Blessed, Lena
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