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How can I forgive my prodigal so I can live in joy?

How can I forgive my prodigal so I can live in joy?

A Story by Precious Prodigal
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April 1, 2014: How can I forgive my prodigal so I can live in joy? Please SHARE this Precious Prodigal Post: http://bit.ly/1kpXSdD

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Phil 4:4 “Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice.

Rejoice! Really? How can I rejoice when my life is crazy from the destructive behavior of someone who should know better? I think one of the reasons we can’t rejoice is that we harbor bitterness in our hearts. Like rejoicing, forgiveness isn’t a suggestion; it’s a directive. It isn’t easy, is it? Our relationship with our prodigal is strained by his wrong choices and broken promises. How many times has our prodigal lied to us, disappointed us, and even verbally abused us?

Before we get to what forgiveness is, we should take a look at what it is not. It is not tolerating inappropriate behavior or abuse of any kind. It is not continuing to enable our prodigal by bailing him out of trouble. It doesn’t necessarily mean we will have a relationship with the prodigal. Sometimes the healthiest thing we can do for our prodigals and for ourselves is to put some distance between the two of us. But is it really forgiveness if I can’t or don’t spend time with him? Of course it is, because forgiveness isn’t about him at all. It’s about you.

Forgiving our prodigal doesn’t mean he is repentant. We forgive him because “God for Christ’s sake has forgiven [us].” (Eph 4:32) And that doesn’t mean forgiving him through gritted teeth. That same Scripture tells us we are to be tenderhearted and kind. As with any command, it becomes a matter of our free will. Do we forgive or do we harbor that resentment? Our tendency is to nurse that hurt until it becomes a “root of bitterness springing up” in us. Hebrews 12:15 warns us that root of bitterness won’t trouble the prodigal. It will trouble us.

So what can we do? We can let go of any expectations that depend on the prodigal’s saying or doing anything. And every time we feel that resentment coming back, we can remind ourselves that forgiveness is about us and that we have a choice. We can also recognize that when we don’t forgive, we and not the prodigal are the ones with a problem. A parent recently asked me the name of my ministry. When I told her, it was “Precious Prodigal,” she responded, “My prodigal isn’t very precious to me right now.” While I can understand that parent’s frustration, who really has the problem?

Challenge for Today: Can you, just for today, remember that forgiveness is a command and that you have a choice? Can you remind yourself that it’s doing something good for yourself when you choose to forgive?

© 2014 Precious Prodigal


Author's Note

Precious Prodigal
April 1, 2014:
How can I forgive my prodigal so I can live in joy?
Please SHARE this Precious Prodigal Post:
http://bit.ly/1kpXSdD

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