by Jim Henry

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When You Have a Prodigal Child (4 of 8)
Jim Henry
Luke 15:11-32

I learned some years ago, in counseling with parents, that no one has all the answers. And the longer I minister, the more I am sure of that, because I'm still learning. The only thing I know is what God's Word says, and I'm learning to stand on it more than what I think, and find that I come out a whole lot better.

In talking to those parents who did the best they could to have godly homes, I found that still so many times they would have one or more children who would go astray. Even though the children were raised in the same circumstances, with parents who were maybe not doing a perfect job -- what parent has? But doing the best they could, and everything was even, their attitudes were right, they were not hypocrites in the Christian life, yet some of their children would be errant, and become prodigals.

The word, ''prodigal'' means, ''extravagant waster.'' And after counseling the parents, I would often say, ''Lord, what happened?'' Here are these folks who really love You; they have raised their children all the same way, apparently, trying to be sensitive to each child's need and different personality, and yet three turned out right and one wrong, or one is right and one's wrong. Why?''

And I had a tendency in those days to blame the parents. But in recent years I've developed some new insights.

We're living in a time of tremendous pressure in our society. Last year over one million teenagers ran away from home. That was reported; there may have been many more. The tendency is to say, ''Well, they probably had to get away because they were being abused, their fathers were alcoholics; it was a terrible home situation.'' And sometimes that's true. But on the other hand, I know some who ran away when the parents were doing everything they could to be good parents. Or grandparents were doing everything they could to help, and still the children were prodigals, away from home, or liv ...

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