Parent of a Prodigal Luke 15:11 CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO
What do you do if you find out that you are the parents of a prodigal? This is a problem that many families face today and we need to find the answer to this question in the Bible. Our text for this lesson is found in Lk 15:11-32. If you are the parents of a prodigal, note the following:
His root problem is self-love – v.12 – “give me” – and this self-love is the root of many other sins that appear as the fruit on the tree of selfishness., 2 Tim 3:1-5.
His sin will lead him away from you – v.13 – “a far country” – he may still be under your roof but his heart has adventured miles away from you and the Lord – they can do this on the internet today – sin always leads you further than you want to go, keeps you longer than you want to stay and costs you more than you want to pay.
You [his parents] can’t chase after him – v.13 – “the younger son… took his journey” – his parents didn’t run after him – notice that his father stayed home, v.20 – if you chase a calf that has strayed from the herd when moving cattle, you will run him further away from the herd – if you leave him alone, he will find his way back to his mother when he gets hungry enough – and notice that no one blamed the father and the father didn’t take the blame [i.e., “if you hadn’t given him that money none of this would have happened”] – you cannot veer your course away from the direction the Lord is leading your family to accommodate a prodigal – stay your course.
He will waste money and be in want – v.13-14 – “wasted his substance… began to be in want” – this is where many parents go wrong – when your child begins to want, you cannot help him in anyway to mitigate the expense of his sin – if he cannot provide for himself or pay his bills, you cannot cover them for him – he needs to find his own way – the trouble is going to get harder on you if there is a grandchild involved.
He will struggle horribly – v.15-16 – “to feed swine… no man gave unto him” – this station of life was far below the lifestyle to which this young man had grown accustomed – he was slopping hogs and he was so hungry that he wanted to eat what they were eating – furthermore, no one who knew him helped him or had compassion on him.
Lord willing, he will come to himself – v.17 – this prodigal came to himself and realized the error of his way – until a person comes to himself and is willing to change, he won’t – what convinced him is that he said, “I perish with hunger!” You cannot interfere in this providential work of God and consequential work of sin – too many parents get in the way in response to their own broken hearts.
He must reconcile with God – v.18 – “I have sinned against heaven” – this is a step that most parents miss – the initial trouble with the prodigal is a low estimation of God, Rom 1:21, 30 – he was ungrateful, he did not glorify God and in truth he hated God – thus, he must repent to God, 2 Tim 2:25-26 – he has a spiritual problem that must be addressed between him and the Lord – if you reconcile with him before he reconciles with God then he will still be a prodigal – most of the time the problem is that he needs to be saved, if he wasn’t truly saved before.
He must reconcile with you – v.18 – “and before thee” – he must repent to you – again many parents miss this valuable step – they are so happy to have their child back that they by-pass the true godly sorrow that must be demonstrated toward you – he sinned against you and he must repent – if he doesn’t, he isn’t “through.”
He must truly be “changed” – v.24 – “dead… alive… lost… found” – his repentance must be final and his life with this sin that drove him away must be gone – it is no good thinking that you can put a self-loving kid back under your roof and that somehow you are going to love him or discipline him back into righteousness – this is something that God must do and when God has done it, he is “fixed.”
Then he must receive your compassion – v.20 – “had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him” – since his father didn’t walk every step of this sinful life with his son, he didn’t have all the pent up anger to shed when he first saw his son – he never quit loving him but he knew there was nothing he could do until his son was “through” – then when he came home, he could demonstrate his love.
He must make restitution – v.22, 31 – “robe… ring… shoes… all that I have is thine” – while his father gave him some necessities when he returned, he didn’t give him any more inheritance – everything the father had was going to be the elder sons – in your case, whatever financial damage has been caused to you, your prodigal should have to bear the loss of it.
You can’t overlook that his siblings will be affected – v.28 – “he was angry” – remember that when all this is done, there are other family members that have been affected by this prodigal’s sins – they will be angry and there will need to be reconciliation with them, as well – you cannot neglect the other children in all of this – often the prodigal gets all of the attention and that isn’t good.
Conclusion: You will be wise to line up with this passage – the mother is going to generally have the hardest time with this – and notice that she is not even mentioned in the passage – the emotional state of mothers is usually what leads them to hover over their prodigals and it is what motivates them to lead their husbands contrary to these scriptures – it is hard, but you must trust the Lord more than your own heart in these matters.