As a parent, a relative or even a friend, it is so hard to
understand why children that left the faith, cannot see the reality of
life. As followers of Christ, we believe the following statement as
quoted in John 14: 6 ESV, “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the
truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
Because this belief in Jesus Christ is such a strong part of our makeup,
we have a tendency to believe that the wayward child, who was raised
with a firm Christian foundation, should automatically know the truth
and believe the same as we do. But, the world-view and reality for the
prodigal has changed. When they turned their back on faith in Jesus
Christ, they gave up the truth for a lie.
Perhaps the best way that parents can comprehend the perspective of
their prodigal is to understand how unbelievers see this world.
Unbelievers have bought into the deception of the world that it is up to
‘them’ to take control of their own life. They are taught at a young
age that they are ‘the Master’ of their own destiny. The world is cold
and has set some high standards for all of us from: having the right
career, making enough money, living in the ‘right’ neighborhood, looking
a certain way, dressing in the latest fashion, understanding and
keeping up with the ever-changing technology, giving enough time or
money to our community or a social cause. This fast paced world demands
that we are able to multitask efficiently fitting everything into our
daily lives and still meet the expectations of our families and friends.
If we cannot meet these standards we become failures.
When Christians share with unbelievers how Jesus has given us all a
free gift of his life for our sins and that we don’t have to do
anything, the notion that something good can be obtained without hard
work, ambition and drive does not make any sense to the unbeliever. If
you think about it, today we are surrounded by gimmicky items for sale
on television to unbelievable ads on the Internet that are all trying
sell us on miracle products that will cure our ailments and help us to
achieve our goals. We may even have encountered the pushy car salesman
at the car lot or retail store, trying to convince us that we need their
items for sale because without them we are nothing. If we fell victim
to any of the above claims, we quickly found out that the product we
bought into was cheap and did not produce the touted claims, leaving us
feeling empty and used. These experiences create a barrier in our
belief system to protect us from being vulnerable and getting “sold”,
and through our experiences we have been taught that nothing for free
can be of any good or value.
Unbelievers may also have experienced rejection in their lives from
parents, friends, family or people in authority because they could not
meet their demands or expectations. So believing in a Savior is
unimaginable for them since they are not trusting of anyone. Prodigals,
since they are now part of the world and have bought into the lie, have
come to the conclusion that they are not good enough to receive
anything for free. They may also feel deep down, that since they
rejected Jesus Christ, that he in turn will now reject them. Prodigals
have fully bought into the lie of the world that ‘they’ are the master
of their destiny and that things only come to you when you work hard.
They also think that second chances are not viable especially when you
are the one that pushed someone away.
Although this scenario sounds ominous, take heart and do not worry.
The benefit that the Prodigal has is that they still have the seeds of
the faith. You perhaps raised them with a strong Christian foundation
or now share your love of the Triune God when you interact with them.
The seeds of faith may be buried deep down inside your child’s heart,
but they are still part of their makeup. As parents, the Holy Spirit
enables you, through your love for them, to show the love of Jesus
Christ to them. All believers can also be encouraged that the Holy
Spirit enables us to share the love of our Triune God with those whom we
come in contact with on a daily basis. We are just there to lay the
seeds……. and the Holy Spirit does the rest.
It is indeed true, heavenly Father, as you have let us experience in
life daily, nothing is free; everything has its price. For this reason
it is difficult for us, who live in this kind of a world, to believe
that your grace manifested in Jesus Christ, your Son, is free and
unconditional. Once we by the power of the Holy Spirit come to believe
this, it is a challenge for us to see why others may balk at this truth.
Forgive us, when we ourselves doubt your grace or when we have
difficulties with others who do or even reject it. Through the Holy
Spirit strengthen our faith and commitment, so that we confidently speak
the good news that in Jesus Christ you have loved the whole world;
anyone who believes this will have eternal life. Through Jesus Christ,
our Lord, we pray. Amen
Mathew 13: 32 ESV It is the smallest of all seeds, but when it has
grown it is larger than all the garden plants and becomes a tree, so
that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.”
Mark 4:8 ESV And other seeds fell into good soil and produced grain,
growing up and increasing and yielding thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a
Mark 4:31 ESV It is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when sown on the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth,
1 Samuel 16:7 ESV But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his
appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him.
For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance,
but the Lord looks on the heart.”
Romans 5: 1 – 11 ESV
5 Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we[a] have peace
with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Through him we have also
obtained access by faith[b] into this grace in which we stand, and we[c]
rejoice[d] in hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only that, but we rejoice
in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and
endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope
does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our
hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
6 For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the
ungodly. 7 For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though
perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— 8 but God shows
his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
9 Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more
shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. 10 For if while we were
enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more,
now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. 11 More than
that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom
we have now received reconciliation.