NOVEMBER 29

Pride, Prodigals and Holy Scars

For we all stumble in many ways. JAMES 3:2

When two parents set out to raise their children, it's easy to begin with the thought, We can do a better job at this than everybody else. Despite our inexperience, we believe that by mixing in ample amounts of prayer, Scripture memory, family devotions, worldview teaching and church attendance, we can almost guarantee our children will turn out the way we want them to. Put the right stuff in, we'll get the right stuff out.

There's a term for this kind of attitude, however: "spiritual pride." I know, because Barbara and I felt the same way when we started out on our parenting journey.

But we learned one thing really quickly about children: If you want a guarantee, buy a new set of tires or a car battery . . . because children don't come with any guarantees. Being a parent may be the greatest risk we take in our lifetimes.

Ask those who've had a prodigal child come through their home. Ask us. We'll tell you.

But we can also tell you something else: God is sovereign. He is more than able to turn your children's lives around. As you release your children to make their own decisions, you may worry that their wounds will leave a permanent mark, disfiguring their lives forever. Yes, sin does have consequences. But as my friend Dan Jarrell says, "God delights in taking those wounds and turning them into holy scars that are useful for His purposes."

After all, the perfect Father, God, had a couple of children Himself who didn't fare too well in the Garden. He's had a lot of others along the way who've messed up pretty badly, as well. So don't lose heart. God can heal wounds and turn them into "holy scars" that declare God's grace, mercy and purposes.

DISCUSS

Think of a prodigal that God has rescued for His purposes. What can you learn from this person's story?

PRAY

Pray for the prodigals you know . . . that God will restore them in His time. Pray, too, that your children will learn to trust God without having to become a prodigal.

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