It’s never too late to be a loving father… or to go back to One.
In the Bible there is an interesting account of a father and his two sons. You probably know the story. One son decided that he wanted to make his own way in the world so he took what he could get from his dad and left home. The scripture puts it this way: He “journeyed to a far country, and there wasted his possessions with prodigal living.”
How many homes are there that have this very story going on? The parent’s dreams, the tears, the investment in the child – all seemingly wasted. The child may live down the street or across town, but they have gone a long way from everything that represented the home they grew up in. So much of what they now represent seems such a total loss.
The Bible further says that the son “joined himself to a citizen of that country.” Doesn’t that sound familiar? New binding relationships seem to capture our kids, take and keep them away from home and right, and take them to the bottom. But the story doesn’t end there. One day the son “came to himself ” and remembered home. He remembered his father and the abundance and started for home. I love how his father, who “saw him and had compassion and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him,” met him and welcomed him home.
I think we often misplace the focus of this story on the prodigal son. Maybe we do the same thing in our homes, dwelling on the tragic loss of our kids. But I believe a closer look shows us that the real story here is about the father, a father whose heart and actions always expressed love.
Why did the son think of home? Was it just the home-cooked meals and a soft, warm bed? I don’t think so. As good as those things are, I believe it was because he had experienced real love from his father and he knew in his heart that his dad loved him unconditionally. He knew he would be safe and loved with his dad.
The prodigal concept is not a social one. It is a spiritual one that occurs when children reject the love and grace available to them through a relationship with their heavenly Father. Some- how, our children often build a concept of God based on their experience with us as parents. How do we reflect God’s love and grace to our children?
In this story, the father had two sons. One never left home. The other did, but came back because he remembered his father and home. With God’s help, you can be a hero in your home too. Learn what your heavenly Father’s love is like by regular study of the Bible and by faith accepting Jesus as the expression of His love. Then you will know better how to love your family and point your children to their heavenly Father and his love.
By Melvin Adams, President and COO of RENEWANATION
This article originally appeared in The RENEWANATION Review, Volume 5 Issue 1. If you would like to become a member and receive a print edition of the magazine, please click here. If you would like to learn about other ways you can get involved, please click here.