Read Proverbs 22:6. What is your understanding of this passage? Is this a guarantee, a promise, or a probability?
Sometimes as a parent you do everything you should—spend time teaching your children the right things, live according to your knowledge of God, send them to good schools, attend church regularly, become involved in mission work with them—and they end up leaving the faith in which you raised them.
The amount of pain is excruciating, and there is not a moment of rest from your concern for their salvation. The cause is not necessarily the parent’s fault. Children have minds of their own and are ultimately responsible to God for their actions.
Some have taken the words “when he is old he will not depart from it” as a promise, a guarantee that proper parenting will always result in their child’s salvation. But Proverbs often gives us principles and not always unconditional promises. What we can take out of this text is the assurance that the lessons learned in childhood will last a lifetime. Every child reaches an age when they either accept the heritage of their parents as their own or reject it. Those parents who were careful to provide their children with godly training have the assurance that what they taught their children will always be with them, and if or when their children walk away, the seeds they planted in their hearts will continuously be in them calling them home. Being a good parent is our choice; how our children turn out is theirs.
What should a parent do when a child goes astray? Turn your children over to God in earnest prayer. If anybody understands your pain, it is God, whose children, by the billions, have turned their backs on Him, the perfect parent. You can support your prodigals with love and prayer and be ready to stand alongside them as they wrestle with God.
Don’t be too embarrassed to ask for support and prayer, don’t blame yourself, and don’t be so focused on the prodigal that you forget the rest of the family. Parenting a prodigal can divide your household; so, build a unified front with your spouse and set clear boundaries for your child. Remember that God loves your child more than you do, look to a brighter future, and accept that your child is God’s work in progress.
|It’s only natural in such a situation to blame yourself. And even if you have made mistakes, why is it better to focus on the future and on the promises of God? See Phil. 3:13.|