Jerry sat motionless with his face in his hands. Sylvia had tears in her eyes. “Where did we go wrong? I honestly don’t know what we could have done differently.”
They were loving, caring parents. They were involved in their kids’ lives. They were involved in church but somewhere along the line their oldest son wandered off. Now they were struggling to discover what they did wrong.
“Obviously we did something wrong because our child is running from God.”
Here are three things Jerry and Sylvia got wrong.
- Unreasonable standards.
Based on the standard they’re holding themselves to – if our kid rebels against God we did something wrong – God Himself is a failure as a father. He unconditionally loved his first two kids but they totally rejected Him.
Because true love must be voluntary God gave Adam and Eve the right to accept or reject Him.
He gave your kids the same option.
If you have rebellious kids, God totally understands your pain. He has rebellious kids, too.
- Mistaking principles for promises.
But doesn’t the Bible promise, “Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it”? (Proverbs 22:6)
Proverbs makes observations about the normal course of things in life – principles that when followed typically produce a certain outcome. They are not all promises that things will always turn out that way. Our world is just not that formulaic. For example:
Proverbs 10:2 – … right living can save your life.
– While that’s true, right living caused the death of many of the martyrs.
Cry out to God for the souls of your children. He’ll move heaven and earth to woo them.
But true love can’t be forced – it must be given voluntarily.
- Judging the end of the story while it’s still being written.
The “fat lady” has not sung. The story is still being written. Don’t give up if your kids are going through a wilderness period. Most of the saints of the Bible, church history and even today wandered from God before kneeling before Him.
God’s not finished and the last chapter has not been written about their lives. So place your hope in His love and concern for your kids. Trust Him to reach out to them with his attractive and attracting grace.
And don’t do things that will make it harder for them to come back!
Continue to love them and back off to give God room to do His thing.