The Prodigal Child – A Time to Love and a Time to Hate

There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens:

a time to love and a time to hate…

(Ecclesiastes 3:1, 8a)

A time to love…

If you had told me when my children were little that one day I would feel dislike toward any of them, I would have said no way.  It wouldn’t have seemed possible and yet…that is exactly where I find myself too often.  And I’ve learned that I’m not alone.

 

Yet it’s not the liking that gives me the ability to show grace. It’s not the liking that allows me to believe the best.  It’s the LOVE I have for my children.  Love goes deeper than my ability to like someone.  It gives me the strength I need to keep fighting on my knees.  It gives me the hope I need to believe there is good that can come from trials and tribulations

 

There is ALWAYS a time to love.  Not loving the sin but loving the sinner.  Not liking your child’s choices but loving the potential.  Loving when it hurts.  Loving when it disappoints.  Loving when all seems lost.

 

Isn’t that what God does for us?  He loves us when we sin.  He loves us when we make bad choices.  He loves us when we cause pain and disappointment.

 

A time to hate…

Hate is such a strong word.  Yet it’s exactly how I feel about some of the choices my prodigal has made.  Not personalizing their choices isn’t always easy.  This means we don’t take it personally and we don’t assign it to them personally.

 

The only one we should really be mad at is the devil.  When we turn the anger inward or toward the child, we are missing the mark.  Ephesians 6:12 reminds us that our struggle isn’t against flesh and blood (people).  But it’s against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms (Satan and his demons).

 

One morning on my drive to work, the thought suddenly crossed my mind that all of my anger had been misdirected.  I started listening to a song that led me to start proclaiming out loud that the devil had to, in Jesus name, take his hands off my child.

 

The more I declared this, the angrier I became.  But it wasn’t aimed at my child…it was at the devil.  Thankfully it was still relatively dark out and not busy because anyone driving past me would have thought I was a lunatic.  I began to scream at the devil.  What a release!  Yes, there is a time to hate…to hate the sin and not the sinner.  To hate the hold the devil has on our child.  To hate his plans to rob, kill and destroy.

 

Think about where your love or hate may have been misdirected in parenting a prodigal.  Ask God to help you work through this and show when it’s the time to love and when it’s the time to hate.

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