Monday, November 30, 2009

Things I've Learned From The Prodigal Son

1. Sometimes we will give our kids resources with which they will make mistakes.

Luke 15:11-13 - Jesus continued: "There was a man who had two sons. The younger one said to his father, 'Father, give me my share of the estate.' So he divided his property between them. "Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living.

2. Don't hold your child's bad choices against him/her.

When the son returned home, his father did not ask him where he'd been or what he'd done. He simply hugged him, kissed him, and began preparing a welcome home meal.

Luke 15:20-24 - So he got up and went to his father. "But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. The son said to him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son'. But the father said to his servants, 'Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let's have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.' So they began to celebrate.

3. You don't have to know all the details of their sins.

There's no doubt that when they come home, it is tempting to ask them to spill the details of their missteps, but that's not what they need to do. They'll tell you what they want you to know, and in their own time.

Luke 15:27 - 'Your brother has come,' he replied, 'and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.'

4. Understand that the other children will have issues with the prodigal and you might not be able to change that. The siblings might very well make some assumptions about what was in the heart of the prodigal. This is their issue...not yours.

Luke 15:28-30 - "The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. But he answered his father, 'Look! All these years I've been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!'

5. Defend your child and affirm his/her commitment to change.

The father was talking with the other brother and he said (effectively), "Look, you have always been here with me, but your brother has not been so smart. He's a part of the family, and we are going to welcome him home.

Luke 15:31-32 - " 'My son,' the father said, 'you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.' "

Monday, November 16, 2009

One Strong Teabag

"A woman is like a teabag. You never know how strong she is until she gets in hot water." Yeah...I've heard that one a hundred times. While I believe the sentiment of the statement, I've come to hate being called, "the strong one" 'cause it means I've spent a ton of time in hot water. I do love that I have discovered how amazingly strong I am, but being in the hot water is exhausting. The other day I was reminded of the other half of that teabag analogy. Here it is; "...and the longer she's in hot water, the more bitter she becomes. Help her out, squeeze her with a hug and let her dry out."

It's easy to encourage someone with bumper sticker philosophy. Doling out wise quips to the hurting makes everyone feel better. I contend, however, that the "dol-er" gets more emotional satisfaction than the "dol-ee". I know that when someone we love is hurting, it's really difficult to know what to do, and sometimes words are all that comes to mind. I spent a lot of time in hot water and I know how desperately I wished someone had had the courage to help me out, squeeze me off with a hug, and let me dry out. For the most part, however, people around me only added to my bumper sticker collection.

I spent many years in hot water, and I'm stronger because of it. I am determined to fight the bitterness by using my experiences to teach and encourage others. You want to help me out? Turn off your hot water kettle, squeeze me, and sit with me while I dry out.