I’ve gotten it all wrong. I thought that if I “loved” them enough, accepted them, held them close enough that I could make them okay enough, loved enough, self-confident enough to then be able to make the choices that lead to life and righteousness, but I am wrong.
Proverbs 29:19 tells me that mere words will not cause change. Understanding truth will not cause them to respond rightly.
Galatians 6:7 “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.”
God has already thought all of this through. He has chosen the best and most effective way to turn wayward hearts back to Himself. It is His kindness that leads us to repentance. He knows our hearts and the strength of our will. He has set in place laws that lead us to freedom. The law of reaping and sowing. As sure as the sun rising each morning every person will reap the consequences of their choices.
I cannot sow on behalf of my child. I cannot stand in the way of the reaping. My kindness does not lead to repentance. My kindness is fear wrapped in the promise of happiness.
I give the reward first expecting to see the change in behavior after. My desire to protect my child drives me to coddle, promise goodness, bribe, give, violate my boundaries to try to love that wild donkey into the corral. But my kindness cannot change the rebellion born in his heart.
I can wrap him in the fabric of my best intentions but he will not be changed. He cannot change himself. I cannot change him. Only God’s way leads to a new heart–a righteous choice.
I have been standing in the way of God’s perfect path designed to bring my prodigal to repentance. I will humble myself beneath God’s mighty hand and step out of the way. Reap what you sow, my child. Let consequences drive you to God’s heart.