Let it not seem hard to you that you have to send him away free.Deu 15:18a
In my last installment I talked to sons and potential sons. This time, I talk to fathers.
We learned that sonship has two views. From God’s perspective, we are sons before we decide to rebell and run, even before we are formed in the womb of our mother. For us, we have to learn to believe that, first accepting the existence of God, our need of him. Then growing to love him. And finally seeing who we are in Christ.
The bible as a whole as well as the story of the prodigal son tell us much more about this process. Especially about the father’s role in it.
And it ain’t easy.
An All-Knowing God
God knew. He knew exactly what was going to happen when he created the earth as our habitat and gave us a choice. And for sure, Adam and Eve decided to disobey.
And God let them do it!
He forsaw all the consequences. He knew ahead of time that this meant death. Not only death of man, but his own death at the cross.
He knew all the hardship and trouble awaiting his creation. And all the sorrow and pain he would have to bear.
And still, he let them do it.
Keeping His Word
God gave us free will, perfectly aware of the up- and downside of it. He never reclaimed it or overruled it. Even though he knew all the trouble it would cause.
He even knew that we would blame him for all the bad happening in the earth—and beyond.
He would be the bad guy taking the blame for all the consequences that come out of our decisions. But we would tend to take the credit for the good ourselves. He knew.
And still, he gave us free will.
He wanted sons, not slaves. He wanted friends, not puppets. He wanted equals, not robots.
Why am I telling you all this?
God wants us to modell his fatherhood.
He gave us natural and spiritual fathers to show people who he is.
Thus, letting go of the people without holding on or even letting them know how wrong you think that their decision is, just portrays the father in heaven.
Let me explain.
There is a time of training, of investment. Just as a natural child has to become of age before building its own house, its own family, the same holds true for the spiritual.
But not every child waits and endures. Some run. Just like the prodigal son. Some make wrong decisions, and we know the consequences because we have been around—and they have not.
Let them go anyway.
Don’t let them go without counseling. Speak to them as much as you have an inroad into their heart. As much as they will let you. If the have pierced ears, if they are bondservants, they will eventually hear. Maybe it will take a while, maybe even years. But there will be a time they remember those words.
But until then, let them go.
Is it better for them to wait for their time? Yes. Have we? Have we always been patient? No.
What do I not mean by all this?
Don’t send them prematurely. Don’t give up because of a hickup in your relationship. Don’t push them out until its time. Always provide a home for them, and send them according to their level of maturity.
Don’t let them go without trying to reach them. Talk to them, urge them, explain, try to reach their heart. But do not pressure them nor threaten them.
It is so much better to gain a son instead of having a slave. Abraham longed to have a son. He was willing to leave it all to a bondservant, Elieser, but much rather had a son.
Don’t bring up slaves or bondservants, educate and equip sons.
God did it, and suffered because of the price that layed before him. You and me as true sons.
What do I mean then by all this?
Trust them. Invest in them. Give them all you got. Love them. Wait for them, if necessary. Push them forward. Remove the stones from their path if possible. Let them stumble if necessary. Be there for them. Desire for them to go further than yourself will ever go, even further than any man has ever gone.
But never, never instill a slavehood mentality into them by bonding them to you using guilt and regret. Do not build ties by telling them how much you invested, how much they owe you. Do not hold them back, even with the greatest of motives.
There are situations we have to remind our children of the hardship they cause with their actions. Sometimes they have to know what parents invested and gave up for them to be where they are. But never to bind them to yourself. This bond will be one of slavery, not trust. Coerced, not freely given from their heart.
Tell them to remind them when there is an opening for change and repentance. Tell them to prepare them for their role as a parent. But don’t tell them to have them with you.
Fathering is Hard
Letting go is hard. But it is portraying the father in heaven. What greater chore, what greater joy could there be?
Don’t create slaves. Don’t settle for bondservants. Build mature sons.
Can you tell me how you do that? I think we can learn a lot from each other.