Every family has its headaches. Because depravity runs deep, it is impossible to rear our children from infancy to independence without encountering times that call for straight-talk and tough love. While parents continue to love their children no matter what, they cannot escape those occasions where wills clash, when rebellion reaches an impasse, and when things get downright impossible. For any number of reasons, some adolescents and young adults who still live at home reach a place where they simply refuse to obey. All attempts to bring back the harmony in the relationship prove futile. This results in harsh words and ugly reactions as parents stand their ground while their son or daughter reacts in stubborn defiance and refuses to back down. We pray, but nothing changes. We try to reason with disobedience, but that’s a dead-end street. As we apply different measures of discipline, things only get worse. Our struggle is complicated by the realization that we have other children who are being neglected—or negatively influenced—as we spend most of our time and energy dealing with the rebel. This is when the fun stops for parents.
1 Samuel 15:22–23; Luke 15:11–24
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