“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6
Well, shall we say, to parents of the children who seem to have lost their way, or to any parent who may face such a situation in the future?
You raised your child in the way they should go, and now they’ve gone off the deep end. Their former innocence has been dropped, forsaken. They value things they know will leave them hurt and broken. You try to help, and they push you further away. Where are they? Who are they anymore? What are they? What DO they believe, and why?
What did I do wrong to pressure them into destructive behavior?
Now, drop your line of thought. When you work your questions into a frenzy, the Enemy sees prime opportunity to manipulate your fears. Fear is the opposite of love. (II Timothy 1:7) So, let’s look at Who is Love.
Heavenly Father. The LORD God. Yahweh. Yahuah our Elohim. Creator of all. King of the Universe. The first parent.
He gave His first children on this earth, Adam and Eve, everything. He taught them all they needed to know, blessed them with all they could want or need, but most of all, He gave them free will. A controlled relationship cannot grow. As a Veggie Tale story put it, “A gift that’s demanded is no gift at all.” If the Heavenly Father and His children were to have a relationship of love and growth, they would have to be capable of choosing Him.
When the choice came, they chose to serve themselves first, to disobey, to twist His Word, to accept evil.
He loved them more deeply than a human could love his own child. The betrayal was painful, and the pain was deep. He could have disrupted their beings into atoms, taken back His gift of the breath of life, or struck them with lightning on the spot.
Yet, Yahweh remained in love. He came down to their level and walked the earth. He asked questions: “Where are you? Who told you that? Did you do such and such? What have you done?” He listened to the explanations and blame. Then, He chastised His children with appropriate measures, without wrath. (See how His grace is evident early in the Scriptures?) God even covered their sin and made clothing for their nakedness. Following the Heavenly Father’s example would bear the best fruit.
“What if my child still strays?” The human race has continued its fickle, sinful ways for millennia, and their Father still offers love and grace. Eventually, at the end of days, all will be set aright, and those who choose Him will have abundant life with Him, and stronger love than if the choice had never been offered. It takes time, but the wait produces a great deal of gain.
Also, look closer at the Proverb. It does not promise that our children will not make grave mistakes and painful choices. WHEN HE IS OLD will the well-raised child not depart from the good path. Our children may go to the School of Hard Knocks, make the wrong choices, make the wrong friends, marry the wrong people, lead the wrong careers, but hope doesn’t go anywhere. All things will work out. It may take years or decades. You may not live to see it. It may be in the Thousand Year Reign, but know that your children were God’s children first. He thought of them at the dawn of time. He chose you to raise them. Their salvation and life choices are ultimately between themselves and their Maker. You did not credit yourself when they figured out how to walk. You did not take praise when they made those first good choices and aspirations. You credited them and praised them for their character. Do not take credit for their mistakes once they are raised. You did your best! You did a good job! Sure, every parent makes their mistakes, but God still chose you, and you have answered your calling.
So take your ailing children to The Healer, the One Who loves them most, and leave them at His feet. If He Himself calls you to assist, obey Him covered in His love, but do not assume a responsibility that is His alone.
May He warm your heart and fill it with the love and light your loved ones need,
Your sister in Messiah.