Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Prodigal Parent


Many adult children of divorce have prodigal parents.

Today I re-read Luke 15: 11- 32 which is given the heading "The parable of the Lost Son" or "The parable of the Prodigal Son" . Jesus told this story as a response to religious leaders as they questioned why Jesus was speaking to an audience of "sinners".  The story illustrates a father welcoming a wayward son home, just as God welcomes a humble, repentant man or woman back into fellowship with him after they have strayed.

If you are an adult child of divorce you likely have a lost or prodigal parent.
They leave, go off on their own , and pursue their own lives and pleasures.

Often we, as children, are left to wait. We have to let them go. Sometimes this means distance, sometimes estrangement.
We wonder if they will ever "come to their senses" as the son in the parable does.
We hope for that and pray for that and we wait.
And we hurt.

In the book "Parenting your Adult Child" , the authors Campbell and Chapman make a case for the legacy we leave to our children.  The following quote relates to prodigal parents:
" There I nothing that hurts as much as a negative change in a parents' integrity and behavior.  When a person rejects the values she has instilled in her children, it is a blow that will stun children to a degree from which they may never recover. "

The story or parable of the Prodigal Son is maybe more accurately entitled "The Waiting Father".  Jesus was trying to make the point to the religious leaders who were questioning why he would talk to sinners,  that precisely God wanted the wayward to come home. God was waiting and that was Jesus' mission to bring the lost ones, who had come to their senses, home.  The main character is the waiting Father.  He let his son go. He also rejoiced when he came home.

As adult children, you may have a prodigal , or lost parent. They are out on their own, following their own path, looking for pleasure and avoiding responsibility to their family. You are the "waiting child".  The wait will probably be long.  The wait will be trying to your spirit and mind.  And we have to face the possibility that our parents may never humble themselves to the point of "coming home" again.  But we can hope for that day , pray for them.

Today many adult parents of divorce have waiting children.  If that is you , continue to let go where you need to . But keep looking expectantly for the day when your parent may come home.  It may not happen, but if it does, meet them with compassion and open arms.  This is what God does for us when we return to Him.  Coming home is a day look forward to !!!

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