Faith Messages to build your faith

Sunday, November 23, 2014

7 of 12 Ways to Love your Wayward Child

Abraham Piper continues togive us pointers to love our wayward child:


7. Connect them to believers who have better access to them.


There are two kinds of access that you may not have to your child: geographical and relational. If your wayward son lives far away, try to find a solid believer in his area and ask him to contact your son. 

This may seem nosy or stupid or embarrassing to him, but it’s worth it—especially if the believer you find can also relate to your son emotionally in a way you can’t.

Relational distance will also be a side effect of your child leaving the faith, so your relationship will be tenuous and should be protected if at all possible. But hard rebuke is still necessary.

This is where another believer who has emotional access to your son may be very helpful. If there is a believer who your son trusts and perhaps even enjoys being around, then that believer has a platform to tell your son—in a way he may actually pay attention to—that he’s being an idiot. 

This may sound harsh, but it’s a news flash we all need from time to time, and people we trust are usually the only ones who can package a painful rebuke so that it is a gift to us.

A lot of rebellious kids would do well to hear that they’re being fools—and it is rare that this can helpfully be pointed out by their parents—so try to keep other Christians in your kids lives.

8. Respect their friends.


Honor your wayward child in the same way you’d honor any other unbeliever. They may run with crowds you’d never consider talking to or even looking at, but they are your child’s friends. 

Respect that—even if the relationship is founded on sin. They’re bad for your son, yes. But he’s bad for them, too. Nothing will be solved by making it perfectly evident that you don’t like who he’s hanging around with.

When your son shows up for a family birthday celebration with another girlfriend—one you’ve never seen before and probably won’t see again—be hospitable. She’s also someone’s wayward child, and she needs Jesus, too.

9. Email them.


Praise God for technology that lets you stay in your kids’ lives so easily!

When you read something in the Bible that encourages you and helps you love Jesus more, write it up in a couple lines and send it to your child. The best exhortation for them is positive examples of Christ’s joy in your own life.

Don’t stress out when you’re composing these as if each one needs to be singularly powerful. Just whip them out one after another, and let the cumulative effect of your satisfaction in God gather up in your child’s inbox. God’s word is never proclaimed in vain.

10. Take them to lunch.


If possible, don’t let your only interaction with your child be electronic. Get together with him face to face if you can. You may think this is stressful and uncomfortable, but trust me that it’s far worse to be in the child’s shoes—he is experiencing all the same discomfort, but compounded by guilt. 

So if he is willing to get together with you for lunch, praise God, and use the opportunity.

It will feel almost hypocritical to talk about his daily life, since what you really care about is his eternal life, but try to anyway. He needs to know you care about all of him. Then, before lunch is over, pray that the LORD will give you the gumption to ask about his soul. 

You don’t know how he’ll respond.  Will he roll his eyes like you’re an idiot? Will he get mad and leave? Or has God been working in him since you talked last? You don’t know until you risk asking.

(Here’s a note to parents of younger children: Set up regular times to go out to eat with your kids. Not only will this be valuable for its own sake, but also, if they ever enter a season of rebellion, the tradition of meeting with them will already be in place and it won’t feel weird to ask them out to lunch. 

If a son has been eating out on Saturdays with his dad since he was a tot, it will be much harder for him later in life to say no to his father’s invitation—even as a surly nineteen-year-old.)

11. Take an interest in their pursuits.


Odds are that if your daughter is purposefully rejecting CHRIST, then the way she spends her time will probably disappoint you. Nevertheless, find the value in her interests, if possible, and encourage her. 

You went to her school plays and soccer games when she was ten; what can you do now that she’s twenty to show that you still really care about her interests?

JESUS spent time with tax collectors and prostitutes, and he wasn’t even related to them. Imitate Christ by being the kind of parent who will put some earplugs in your pocket and head downtown to that dank little nightclub where your daughter’s CD release show is. Encourage her and never stop praying that she will begin to use her gifts for Jesus’ glory instead of her own.

12. Point them to Christ.


This can’t be over-stressed. It is the whole point. No strategy for reaching your son or daughter will have any lasting effect if the underlying goal isn’t to help them know Jesus.
Jesus.

It’s not so that they will be good kids again; it’s not so that they’ll get their hair cut and start taking showers; it’s not so that they’ll like classical music instead of deathcore; it’s not so that you can stop being embarrassed at your weekly Bible study; it’s not so that they’ll vote conservative again by the next election; it’s not even so that you can sleep at night, knowing they’re not going to hell.

The only ultimate reason to pray for them, welcome them, plead with them, email them, eat with them, or take an interest in their interests is so that their eyes will be opened to Christ.

And not only is He the only point—HE'S the only hope. When they see the wonder of JESUS, satisfaction will be redefined. HE will replace the pathetic vanity of the money, or the praise of man, or the high, or the orgasm that they are staking their eternities on right now. Only his grace can draw them from their perilous pursuits and bind them safely to himself—captive, but satisfied.

HE will do this for many. Be faithful and don’t give up.


12 Ways to Love Your Wayward Child 
by Abraham Piper: Parenting  
Www.desiringgod.org

(Be sure to check out Piper's first 6 of 12 Ways to Love Your Wayward Child)

Shared by Christine Wyrtzen of Daughters of Promise Ministries in the USA.

(Google Images added)

   Pray with me:

   Father, help me remember that
it’s not so that the child will be a good kid again, but that he/she will come to know Jesus in such a way they'll want to please Him.

   May I find the value in my child's interests, if possible, and encourage him/her.

   When I read something in the Bible that encourages me to love Jesus more, may I write it up in a couple lines and send it to my child.

   Let me find ways to love my wayward child back to You, Father. In Jesus' name I ask this. Amen.

Today’s Bible verse: Ps. 119:158 "I beheld the transgressors, and was grieved; because they kept not thy word."
Some thoughts today: Represent Jesus to your child at all times. What He would do, consider doing it too.

- God will not let imperfection into heaven. Let's not defend ourselves, and think we'll be accepted, unless we've made Jesus the Lord of our lives. We would be most unhappy there, otherwise.

- Heb. 11:1 tells us what faith is... We can have a hope for eternity with God! The other choice won't be pleasant at all!


25th- Tuesday’s post: #19 The Real Battle
C. Peter Wagner

27th- Thursday's post: #20 Learning About the Battle
C. Peter Wagner

29th- Saturday's post: Our Friends
Jean Oathout

30th- Sunday's post: One Who Understands
Dave Roper


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