Sometimes life is wonderful, peaceful, and good, but other times, we face hard situations. Each day can bring its own measure of storms and disruption. I’m remembering this morning, and as I do, I’m saying a prayer for those of you who are going through tough times.
A few years ago, I found myself in a difficult situation with someone in my family. Looking back on it now, I can see the path of destruction, kind of like when you visit an area recently visited by a tornado, or a hurricane. From the air, look down at it, and you can plainly detect the beginning and the end and what direction it took.
Divorce is a storm that not only divides a couple, it rips apart the seams of the entire family structure. Though I’ve never personally gone through divorce, members of my family have. When your child goes through it, your son or daughter, you are also affected. Especially if you loved the one your child is rejecting (for whatever the reason).
Yes, it’s their decision, but as a parent, you will want to get involved to try and save the relationship. Maybe, because you’ve been there, but always because you want to kiss the “owie” and make it all better. You have an opinion, and it may differ from that of your child.
Sometimes, the better thing is for you NOT to get involved. Sometimes, it’s actually better to take a step back, and let them go. Like a prodigal, they need to find their own way. Make their own mistakes. Heal their own wounds. At this point…
Whatever you try to tell them, they won’t hear you.
You can bind your prodigal in chains and lock them in the dungeon, but they will hate you for it. Instead, like prodigal’s father, give them what they want and let them go. It’s all right for you to tell them how much you hate doing it. You know they’re headed down the wrong road, headlong toward pain and hurt. But when you get to the point where their mind is made up, anything you say may be disregarded.
Take a step back and wish them well.
But don’t despair, your words can become good seeds that may lay dormant for a while, but will one day flourish.
It’s not easy. I can tell you, it hurts like crazy. I wept, then wept some more, grieving what once was and could have been, but never would be. I was so discouraged, I couldn’t even pray. I just concentrated on the name of Jesus, and tried to let go of my pain.
In the end, I told them what I wanted them to know. “I’m not turning my back. I love you, I’ll pray for you. I’ll be here, if you need me. Go in peace.”
They don’t always go. Not soon enough. They bring their conflict under your roof. You think you have to endure it. You don’t.
If their presence in your household causes conflict, don’t hesitate to put your foot down. “You are interrupting the peace of my household. I love you, but you need to keep your conflict on the other side of that door. If you can’t, then you’re not welcome here.”
Sounds harsh. Sounds a little like tough love. Don’t allow your prodigal to track their mud into your house.
In the parable told by Jesus (Luke 15:11-32), the father welcomed his prodigal back home. It doesn’t say how long he had to wait for the return. But don’t miss the part that Dad cleaned prodigal up before allowing the kid back in the door. No pig dirt inside the father’s residence.
One other thing to remember, guard your heart. For your own benefit and protection, don’t allow yourself to harbor anger and bitterness against either party. Both are dealing with hurt. If there are children involved, there’s more reason to work to retain peace. Strive to make your home a safe harbor.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.–Romans 15:13 NIV
Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.–Hebrews 13:20-21 NIV
NOTE: I am not a counselor. I have only made suggestions and shared what worked in my situation. These would not apply to every situation. Don’t hesitate to find a counselor if you need further assistance. Your pastor can help, or suggest someone who can.