A look at the prodigal son reminds us of the perfect example of a father who loved both his children – when one was faithful and when one was unfaithful.  This picture of grace will help parents teach their children that, even when the day comes when they don’t live in our house, our children are never too far away that they cannot come home.  It might not be to stay at our home, but they need to know of their parents‘ steadfast commitment to their spiritual commitment.

Parents, we need to be in this for the long haul.

Jesus was often criticized for befriending sinners.  As you read through the gospels you notice that Jesus was the hardest on the religious crowd and the kindest to the sinners.  He expected more from the religious people.  Those who knew the Scriptures should understand grace and should have been radically changed by it.  In response to the criticism that Jesus “welcomes sinners and eats with them” (Luke 15:2), Jesus told three parables to solidify the biblical hope of grace.  The Parable of the Prodigal Son is the third story he tells.

If you have never read the story, you can do so in Luke 15:11-32.

While this story ultimately paints a picture of our relationship with God, parents would be wise to learn from it concerning their own children.

If we are to attempt to repeat anyone’s example of parenting, to whom else should we go other than our Heavenly Father?  He is the wisest, most consistent, and most loving parent that anyone could ever know.

As we remind our children of our steadfast commitment to them, we must work to love like our Heavenly Father, accept prodigals as they are, and model grace to the religious in our home.

This Father is unlike anyone else.

Yahweh is a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger and rich in faithful love and truth, maintaining faithful love to a thousand generations, forgiving wrongdoing, rebellion, and sin.  But He will not leave the guilty unpunished…”  -Ex. 34:6-7

For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His faithful love toward those who fear Him.  As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.  As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear Him-Ps. 103:11-13

Think about this: If parents were to love their children the way God loves His, what major changes would need to be made?

Travis Agnew is a Christian, husband, father, pastor, author, blogger, and religion instructor.