Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Thoughts on my prodigal daughter

Some I am sure will accuse me of being harsh and uncaring. Others will accuse me of being too lenient and procrastinating in the actions that should have been taken months ago. However, I have determined that my daughter can no longer stay under my roof and in my care. The reasons for this decision are multiple but can be simplified as that she has chosen to live a life that is morally contrary to the Biblical pattern for a christian woman. Because of this, I believe that I am obligated by God and my responsibility to my other children to force her to leave.

It is not as though she has not been taught the right way. Her mother and I are christians and believe the Bible whole-heartedly. We have endeavored to teach our children that in order to have God's blessings on their lives they need to practice what God teaches is the proper way to live. My daughter knows the verses as she has been exposed to them all of her life. She can debate technical theological issues with any preacher with insite and cunning. The sad thing is she always takes a liberal view on just about every subject. I have determined that as the Scripture says, "knowledge puffeth up", she has knowledge but not a desire to do what is right. I have taught in 2 Peter, chapter 1, that the reason we are to add virtue to our faith rather than going straight to knowledge is because we must first have the desire to do what is right before being taught what is right. Otherwise, we just become proud. I know in experience, on visitation we find some who are quite knowledgable about the Scriptures but believe strange, even bizarre, doctrines. I just never wanted to believe that my daughter would follow that path.

It is true that in my own heart, when I have strayed from a proper relationship with God, that I find myself not wanting to get into the Bible. It is easier to avoid the truth than to face it head on. I can only assume that this is what is happening with my daughter. So the question is what to do?

Some will say that a Christian parent should always be there for their children. I agree! What, however, is the definition of being there for your children? Is it turning a blind eye to their activities and maintaining the status quo in the home? Is it continually begging, pleading, berating and bribing them to do the right thing, all the while they continue to live in the same rebellious way indefinitely? Isn't that the sin of Eli in the Old Testament, who admonished his sons but did not restrain them from their actions. Clearly God expects me to do something to prevent continued disobedience.

What should be done then to an eighteen-year-old woman who refuses to do what God clearly wants her to do? As I search the Scripture I find only the example of the prodigal to guide me. She must leave my house and find out through experience that God's ways are best.

There are certainly differences in my circumstances than that shown in the Bible. First, my daughter will not recieve an inheritance from me. I am broke. I have no resources that I can divide up to give to my daughter. The only thing I can do is help her get established in her own home and try to give her as much advice on how to survive as I can. I am sure some will say that I am giving her too much. Perhaps, but in truth, I want my daughter to thrive... I just want her to live for God. Besides, I know that she will never thrive without God's blessings.

Another difference is that she is not going to go to a "far country". At least not yet. She will feel like she is in another country as I am refusing to aid her after she has left. She will not receive any "bailout" money from us. She will be totally on her own. After a while, she may drop off of our radar for a while, which is scary; but I trust God will keep his eye on her during that time.

Which, I guess, is the real issue here. Do I trust God enough to take care of my daughter? Do I believe that He will allow her to go to the depths of the "pigpen" and bring her back. Can I deliver my daughter "unto satan for the destruction of the flesh" with the goal that "the spirit may be saved"? Isn't that what pastors do to church members who stray into unrepentant sin? Doesn't God do this with His own children who refuse to repent?

I am sure that I can look back at my life and find many reasons that my daughter has decided to walk this path. I am sure that I can drown myself in regret and self recrimination until my sanity leaves me and I perish in grief. Do these things negate my daughter's responsibility to do what is right?

So my daughter leaves my house and my care September 15th. In going I entrust her to God and His mercy. I know she will have difficult times, but I trust they will bring her back to God. I look forward to the day when, like the prodigal's father, I can see her returning. I look forward to the time when I can comfort her as those in Corinth comforted the one who was delivered unto satan. If she must eat with the swine in order to return to Christ, I hope she gets her fill.


  1. I love you, Fred. I trust your judgement. And as much as it hurts to see her longing for the corn husks which I KNOW are under the "dainties"... she has free will. She exercises it every day, and every night she is away from home... and we are in tears and worry over her. Pretending she doesn't have it... or that she doesn't exercise it, is foolish and unrealistic. I pray God will get ahold of her very soon, but she must allow Him access into her life.

  2. I'll be praying for your family. We've been there, except it was our son who had to leave. That was many years ago, and a few years ago he sent an email to be read at a mother's day banquet I was being honored at. He said kicking him out was the best thing we could have done. I know how hard it is to go through this, but you are doing the right thing.

  3. We had to do the same with our youngest daughter. That was 30 years ago. We still do not have a relationship I would desire. Our grand-children have been withheld. It was a hard decision, and I was not saved, so it wasn't done necessarily for the right reasons. She has since been saved, and I was allowed to Baptized my only grand-daughter. Our daughter after she got saved was in church and each of her children. She along with her children are out of church. Saying all this I did the right thing at the right time, and I knew then there would be consequences. I love my daughter, and her children, but if I had to do it again I would, at least now, in obeying the Lord.