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Proverbs 17:21

It is painful to be the parent of a fool; there is no joy for the father of a rebel.

Parenting is hard. When kids are young it is the relatively easy stuff – chasing them around, fending off the early manifestations of their sin, keeping them out of trouble. As they grow older, the challenges increase, as do the consequences for poor choices. The teen years tend to bring the most tension as our kids want total freedom while we still want (close to) total control. All of this is multiplied, of course, if your child/teenager/young adult is making really foolish choices and living in rebellion.

My wife and I have had plenty of experience with this, but certainly know some parents who have had much worse…and it seems, through our jealous eyes, that most of the other ones have had it “much easier”. When your child is making foolish choices and won’t receive any wisdom – from you or anyone else – it grieves the heart in a way that you simply can’t understand unless you have been there yourself. When a child is in rebellion – against parents or God or both – joy is elusive, and fear grips the heart…but Hope is never extinguished.

There are several truths that have helped us through those long and painful days. All of them were gleaned from wiser Believers than us…and those who had “been there and done that.” Here are just a few that we hope will calm your spirit and bring hope:

  1. God is the perfect parent and yet both of His children chose foolishly and rebelled…and they did it in paradise. Our children have minds and wills of their own, so please remember: Really good parents can have children that make really bad choices. Their sin isn’t on you any more than Adam and Eve’s was on God.
  2. You aren’t powerful enough to “ruin your child’s life” – only God has that kind of power. Do you think your mistakes as a parent can’t be overcome by the Blood of the Lamb? You need to show yourself some grace.
  3. Never give up. Don’t give up on prayer…don’t give up on your children…don’t give up on God. All of Lazarus’s friends and family assumed his story was over, save one. Jesus was enough for Lazarus’ sickness and death and He is more than enough for your child’s foolish choices and rebellious lifestyle.

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