There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to keep and a time to throw away…
(Ecclesiastes 3:1, 6b)
A time to keep…
I don’t keep a lot of things. In fact, one thing’s for certain, I will never be accused of being a hoarder. I get rid of things easily (sometimes prematurely). I don’t like clutter and I don’t like messes. I’ll do whatever is necessary to eliminate these things from my life. So, what do I keep? Most things fall into one of two categories: 1) things that are useful and 2) things that are precious. Useful is something like an extra pair of gloves. Precious is a picture of my children.
How does all of this relate to parenting a prodigal child? Well, it’s not about things…instead, it’s about keeping hope alive. Never giving up. Refusing to let go. A time to keep hope in a God that can save even the most derelict person on earth. Keeping faith and trust in God’s plan, which is always bigger than we can imagine. There is always a time to keep hope and faith at the forefront of our problems.
A time to throw away…
Throw away what’s useless. I’m not talking about those jeans you wore in high school and hope to one day fit in again. I’m referring to useless chatter from others, who tell you everything that’s wrong. Useless inner chatter that stirs up self-condemnation and guilt. And especially useless chatter from the enemy of our souls, who tries to convince us that things will never change.
Throw away discouragement…depression…anger…bitterness. Throw away lies. Throw away all negativity. But don’t just throw it away. Completely destroy it so that it can’t come back refurbished, made to look good when it’s nothing but garbage. Ask God to help you take out the trash.