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Our children are free moral agents, not robots who can be programmed by nailing every parenting technique perfectly. King Davids chaotic life and bad parenting produced a rebel son named Absolam. Were Absolams problems all Davids fault? If so, was not Jesse, Davids father responsible for Davids failures? If so, where then did Jesse get his warts? How many generations do we go back? All the way to Adam? But if parents are the only deciding factor in a childs life choices, then God Himself was a parental failure. Look at Adam. Look at the lot of us. No the Bible makes it clear that our kids answer for their own sins.
The soul that sins is the one who will die... Suppose there is a righteous man...has a violent son, who sheds blood or does may evil things...(though the father has done none of them)...He will surely be put to death and his blood will be on his own head. (Ezekiel 18:4,10, 11, 13) At judgment hour each one [will] receive what is due him for the things [individually] done while in the body. (2 Corinthians 5:10)
No, dear crushed parent, dont misuse the proverb nd compound your grief with guilt. Of course, parents do not erase their pain by recognizing their childs culpability. Nor absolve themselves of all guilt. We parents are all guilty in a thousand waysbut Jesus took our load. Brokenhearted parents need to accept Gods forgiveness. Now is a good time to write down specific things you know you have done wrong. Then tell God and at least one other person, so that you may be healed. (James 5:16)
But parents need to forgive themselves, as well. Where still possible, confess your specific failures to your child, and ask forgiveness. Although my children are gone from home, I frequently surface a guilt-pain, which I must confess to them and ask forgiveness. For example: our son, Jon found early high school a difficult time. He was small for his age, and lacked self-confidence then. But he loved to build things with his hands, and did it well. He and I planned a pen for our bird dog. Jon completed it while I was away one week. When I returned, he proudly led me out to see his work. Then I began my critique. Thats not how we planned the foundation, etc. etc.
Jons head sank lower. He pretended to be working on some materials at his feet. When he looked up, his lips quivered, and tears filled his hurt eyes. But, Dad. Its the first one I ever built.
|Wounded parents may always walk with a limp. But God will walk with us in the pain.|
Maybe you need to forgive your mate, too... Parents of problem kids sometimes blame each other. Of course, no one parent makes all the mistakes. Still, even if I had a sworn statement from Good Housekeeping signed by ten angels, stating the total guilt of my mate, I have no choice... I must forgivetodayor I will find no healing.
Brokenhearted parents may also need to forgive their child. A grown woman told me that, as a teenager, she had a secret abortion. The guilt gnawed till she finally poured out the story to her mother. Her mother flew into a rage, retreated to her room and closed the door. When she finally emerged, days later, she refused to discuss the matter again. The relationship has never been healed. She needs to forgive.
After all, our heavenly Father is the original broken hearted parent as well as the ultimate forgiving parent. God moves out along the roadways of life, pursuing and forgiving lost children who have hurt Him so. And when He is not searching the roads, He is preparing forgiveness parties for prodigals! Why not have a family forgiveness party, with confessions, tears, and specific forgiveness all around? God does.
Wounded parents may always walk with a limp. But God will walk with us in the pain. No, He has not promised to erase itin this life. However, He supplies grace to come to terms with our pain. And on the other side of the tears He offers a gift. He empowers us to comfort to others. Even though we may feel like failures as parentseven though our child may be gone foreverother people still need us. God is still counting on us.
Praise be to the...God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. (2 Corinthians 1:3,4)
HEARTLIGHT(R) Magazine is a ministry of loving Christians and the Westover Hills church of Christ.
Edited by Phil Ware and Paul Lee.
Copyright © 1996-98, Heartlight, Inc., 8332 Mesa Drive, Austin, TX 78759.
Article copyright © 1998, Lynn Anderson, Dallas, Texas Adapted from his book, A Shepherd's Song, Howard Pub.Co. 1996. Used by permission.
HEARTLIGHT and the flared heart design are service marks of Heartlight, Inc.