Parents love their sons and daughters regardless of their behavior. From the day they were born we were smitten. As we watched them grow up our love for them grew stronger and stronger. Then things began to change. They began to rebel and disobey. We caught them in lies. We had to discipline and enforce boundaries. Then the day came when, to our sadness, we found ourselves being the bad guy- the enemy, instead of their hero. Sigh.
Sometimes we don’t like the person they’ve become. They’re rude, selfish, disrespectful, and even hateful.
Alcohol and drugs changed them.
Depression, bipolar, schizophrenia, anxiety disorders and other mental illnesses changed them.
Time in jail or prison changed them.
Trauma changed them.
Before we knew it they’re no longer the same person. The sweet, innocent son or daughter we raised and shared countless happy memories with – where did they go? We had years of wonderful times together. What happened to our child? Thoughtless words have hurt us. Selfish actions have wounded our soul more than we care to admit. It’s baffling. Mystifying. Our hearts are broken into a million little pieces.
But they’re still our children. Underneath it all, they’re still in there – somewhere.
What can make the difference in their lives? What is the key that can unlock the door to their hearts?
Unfailing, unconditional love.
Ours and God’s.
No one deserves what we’ve experienced. But it’s love that can make the difference. A love that never fails no matter what they’ve done. A love that can’t fade. It’s impossible for it to wear out, give out, or fizzle out. This love won’t ever come to an end – ever. It will never cease to exist. No way, no how!
This reminds me of the words to an older praise and worship chorus:
“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning, new every morning. Great is thy faithfulness, O Lord.
Great is thy faithfulness, O Lord. Great is thy faithfulness.”
The Bible talks a lot about this kind of love. These two verses summarize it well:
Lamentations 3:21-23 “Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope; because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”
Psalm 119:76a “May your unfailing love be my comfort . . .”
Heavenly Father, put this kind of love in our hearts for our children when we don’t like who they’ve become. Thank you for how you love them – passionately and perfectly. May this love be the key to lasting change. May it give them hope that they can have a new beginning and that life is worth living and fighting for.