The Bridge Home

Teenagers need parent forgiveness

“Love is not provoked, cialis canada medical does not take into account when wrong suffered”    I Cor. 13:5

Building Bridges With Teenagers

(Parent forgiveness)

It is the nightmare of every Christian parent to raise a child to the best of their spiritual ability, troche only to see that child walk away in rebellion during the teenage years.      If you are  too legalistic (substituting rules for relationship) ,  then your teenager  may abandon your teachings and influence altogether.     If you are too permissive (grace without gracious guidance) , then the lack of established  boundaries (biblical mandates and principles)  may  lose your teenagers  to an immoral world.    Both extremes are unbiblical and full of pitfalls.

Teenagers in rebellion

The purpose of these parenting articles (Teachable Moments) is to help you avoid these two unbiblical extremes and  establish a  biblical battle plan that will not only be preventative to potential rebellion , but  be proactive by making  children effective ambassadors for Christ.  If your teenager  is  already in rebellion, do not give up.   All the  battles you’ve lost  for your teenager’s  heart can still be reversed by one or two major God ordained victories.     As long as you remain steady in your prayers and resolute in your love for Jesus and your teenager, there is hope.    Building bridges between you and them though is the key.   There are two suggested Scriptural principles to consider when building these relational bridges.    One principle is directed toward parents with rebellious Christian teenagers, the other deals with parents of rebellious unbelieving teenagers.

Building bridges with  rebellious Christian teenagers

The first principle comes from the parable of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32);  it  applies best  to a believing child who is in rebellion, because the context defines it so.   Matthew the taxgather (later to become Jesus’ disciple)  is a good example of a prodigal son who came home.      In this parable the father was both proactive and reactive in his approach to his rebellious son.   He was proactive in that when the rebellious son was old enough to live on his own he  asked  him to leave  home (tough love).   The father then took a reactive position by keeping the front door open until his son came to his senses, repented, and returned.   This open door was a bridge of return for the son.    On one side of the bridge  the son walked for a time in rebellion while on the other side  the father waited patiently with a forgiving heart.   The river below the bridge represented  the barrier of sin,  which kept the son from coming home.   Finally, the son lived long enough in  sin and he saw it for what it was.  He  made the first step across the bridge  when he repented.   (“Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in your sight” Luke 15:11-32).   Repentance is the only step  necessary for any  son or daughter to return home.     The response of the father is an example for us all,  even before the son entered  the front door the father was off planning a grand celebration.     There was no rebuke, reproof, reprimand, or chewing out.   The father did not say,  “I told you so” or   “you better shape up” or  “here are the rules ”  or  “you’re on probation.”   He was too overwhelmed with the joy when he saw the son’s repentance and return.     And perhaps the son knew this about the father, which made his repentance and return that much easier.    On the other hand the older brother wanted to erect a barrier that would make it difficult for his brother’s  return.   And that never works because setting up barriers (anger, revenge, payback) never brings anyone home.    So if you are a parent of a rebellious Christian teenager  construct  a  bridge of acceptance (prayer, continuing love, and forgiveness)  and wait for your teenagers return.

Building bridges with unbelieving teenagers in rebellion

Unlike the Christian teenager in rebellion, the unbeliever does not have a foundation in Christ.   Your teenager is not only in rebellion, but he/she does not have a convicting Holy Spirit to draw him/her home. ( “But the Holy Spirit, … will teach you all things, and bring to your  remembrance all that I said to you.  John 14:26)   As a parent of a rebellious unbeliever you must be incredibly proactive in your rescue attempt.    You cannot wait for your  son or daughter  to come home to reclaim  righteousness for there is none in him/her  to reclaim.   Therefore, you must  construct a bridge of relation that you will have to cross in order to rescue him/her.      Your building bridge principle  comes from Luke 15:4-7  (“What man among you, if he has a hundred sheep and has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine  and go after the one which is lost”).    A true shepherd in Jesus’ day would avidly pursue a lost sheep.  If found,  he would greatly rejoice.    But then the hard work began, because a lost  sheep usually suffered a multitude of injuries.     In most cases the shepherd carried the damaged sheep home on his shoulders.

The Garasene demoniac in  Luke 8:29-39 was an example of a lost sheep.  (“For he was bound with chains…driven by a demon” ..but he was made well by Jesus…and he left proclaiming what Jesus had done”)   Jesus’ recovery of this man demanded a lot,  he was racked with demons.    Your unbelieving teenager likewise may require a great deal of recovery before salvation can occur.    But when he/she does accept Christ,  then the trip home becomes glorious, because God’s forgiveness not only covers the road home, it crosses the bridge to the front door.     Be prepared though   to spend a great deal of time and money making this happen, their injuries may be many.  The initiation of a  drug rehabilitation program,  the care of newly born children, bad habits,  bills,  and debts may be just a few challenges you will face in this recovery effort.      But it will be worth it all if your teenager returns home on a wagon of repentance and God promised forgiveness.    Then the celebration  banquet  can begin!

Teachable Moments

Take your children to a river where it is crossed by a bridge.   Ask them as to the purpose of the bridge.   Why is a bridge important?  What does it do?   If there were no bridge how difficult would it be to cross the river?   Then relate to them the story of the prodigal son.   Explain how the father built a bridge to his rebellious son.    Challenge your children to likewise build bridges with their broken relationships ( friends, classmates, brothers,  sisters, and cousins). Then finally, make a  promise to them that you will be like the father of Luke 15 should they ever walk away from the Lord.

God’s Word

1 Cor. 13:4-5 “…Love is patient, love is kind, and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant,  does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered…”

John 14:26-27  “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.    “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives, do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.”

Luke 15:11-32   And He said, “A certain man had two sons;  and the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of the estate that falls to me.’ And he divided his wealth between them.  “And not many days later, the younger son gathered everything together and went on a journey into a distant country, and there he squandered his estate with loose living.  “Now when he had spent everything, a severe famine occurred in that country, and he began to be in need.  “And he went and attached himself to one of the citizens of that country, and he sent him into his fields to feed swine.  “And he was longing to fill his stomach with the pods that the swine were eating, and no one was giving {anything} to him.  “But when he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired men have more than enough bread, but I am dying here with hunger!  ‘I will get up and go to my father, and will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in your sight;  I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me as one of your hired men. ” ‘  “And he got up and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him, and felt compassion {for him,} and ran and embraced him, and kissed him.  “And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’  “But the father said to his slaves, ‘Quickly bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet;  and bring the fattened calf, kill it, and let us eat and be merry;  for this son of mine was dead, and has come to life again; he was lost, and has been found. ‘And they began to be merry.  “Now his older son was in the field, and when he came and approached the house, he heard music and dancing.  “And he summoned one of the servants and {began} inquiring what these things might be.  “And he said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fattened calf, because he has received him back safe and sound.’ “But he became angry, and was not willing to go in; and his father came out and {began} entreating him.  “But he answered and said to his father, ‘Look! For so many years I have been serving you, and I have never neglected a command of yours; and {yet} you have never given me a kid, that I might be merry with my friends; but when this son of yours came, who has devoured your wealth with harlots, you killed the fattened calf for him. ‘  “And he said to him, {‘ My} child, you have always been with me, and all that is mine is yours.  ‘But we had to be merry and rejoice, for this brother of yours was dead and {has begun} to live, and {was} lost and has been found.’ “

Luke 15:4-7 “What man among you, if he has a hundred sheep and has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open pasture, and go after the one which is lost, until he finds it?    “And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. “And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!’    “I tell you that in the same way, there will be {more} joy in heaven over one sinner who repents, than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.

Luke 8:29 For He had been commanding the unclean spirit to come out of the man. For it had seized him many times; and he was bound with chains and shackles and kept under guard; and {yet} he would burst his fetters and be driven by the demon into the desert.

Luke 8:36 And those who had seen it reported to them how the man who was demon-possessed had been made well.

Luke 8:39 “Return to your house and describe what great things God has done for you.” And he went away, proclaiming throughout the whole city what great things Jesus had done for him.