(If you would like to download the PowerPoint presentation for this sermon, Click here – 148 Dealing with Straying Sons and Daughters )
Pastor Scott L. Harris
Grace Bible Church, NY
December 3, 2017
Dealing with Straying Sons & Daughters
Last week we examined Luke 15 and the three parables or Lord told that revealed the rejoicing that occurs in heaven when a sinner repents. Today I want to look at the last parable, the parable of the two sons, more closely and then consider some Biblical principles for dealing with our sons and daughters who stray away from walking with the Lord. However, the passage must first be understood in its context. Let me briefly remind you of that this morning, but be sure to pick up a copy of last week’s sermon if you missed it. (See: Rejoicing Over the Repentant)
Luke 15 begins by noting that “all the tax collectors and sinners were coming near Him to listen to Him.” For various reasons these people that were most despised within Jewish society were attracted to Jesus and wanted to hear what He was teaching. Among the reasons for this was His rebukes of the Pharisees and scribes and the hope that he was giving to them.
The next verse notes that the Pharisees and scribes were grumbling about this and in particular that Jesus was not only receiving these sinners, but also eating with them. These religious leaders believed that personal holiness required being distant from sinners. They also had a basic belief that God rejected such sinners as irredeemable and took joy in punishment of them. They should have known better since several passages in the Hebrew scriptures, including Ezekiel 18 & 33, state directly that God takes no pleasure in the death of sinners but desires for them to repent and live. Jesus uses this occasion to emphasize these truths about God. There is rejoicing in heaven when a sinner repents. That is a specific rebuke to these Pharisees and scribes, but it also gives hope to the tax-gatherers and sinners that are also listening.
The first parable about a shepherd searching for and finding a lost sheep and calling his friends together to rejoice with him concludes, “I tell you that in the same way, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over the ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.” The second parable about a woman searching diligently until she finds her lost coin and calling her friends together to rejoice with her has a similar conclusion. “In the same way, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”
Jesus does not make an explicit statement of conclusion in the third parable about the man and his two sons for it is supplied from the previous two parables. That conclusion is easy to see in the first part of the parable about the prodigal son that repents. The conclusion to the second part of the parable about the older son is unknown since Jesus does not finish the story. This section is the stronger rebuke of the self-righteous religious leaders depending on how they would like the story to end.
The Parable of Two Sons – Luke 15:11-31
Let’s look at this parable in more depth. It is much longer than the previous two parables and much more pointed by expressing these truths about God in a story of human familial relationships. Though often called the parable of the prodigal son, it is actually a parable about a father and both of his sons for it begins in verse 11, 11 And He said, “A man had two sons.” Most people are familiar with the first part about prodigal younger son that wastes his wealth, but joy is restored when he repents. The second section about the older son is just as important and actually more pointed in rebuking the Pharisees. By leaving the story without an ending, Jesus prods those listening to come to their own conclusion about how they would want the story to end. Those that understood what Jesus had taught about God and His joy over the repentant would want the older son to repent of his selfishness. Those that are firm in their own self-righteousness would want him to remain firm in refusing to join a celebration for his unrighteous brother.
The Prodigal Son – Luke 15:11-24
12 “The younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of the estate that falls to me.’ So he divided his wealth between them.
This was very unusual, but well within the realm of possibility, and it gives insight into the character of both the selfish son and very generous father. The younger son demands his share of what would eventually be his in his father’s estate. He is so selfish and audacious that he goes to his father and brazenly asks for his share of the inheritance before his father has died. He is in essence saying, “dad, I am not willing to wait until you are dead, give me my inheritance now.” This is actually worse than that. While wealth could be stored in material goods such as coins and clothes, most of the wealth of an estate was usually tied up in land and animals, and those would have been the source of his father’s income. So this is actually more like, “dad, it would be better for me if you were dead, but since you are not, lets pretend like you have died and give me everything now that would belong to me in your estate. I know this will cut your income significantly, but you will just have to get by with what is left.”
According to the laws of inheritance in Deuteronomy 21:17, the oldest son gets a double portion, so this son would inherit one third of his father’s estate. Normally, an inheritance is not received until the father’s death, but a father could give gifts to his children before he died, though usually a transfer of land would be the title only with the income from it still coming to the father until his death. In this case, the son is after complete control as if his father was already dead.
Amazingly, the father yields to his son’s selfish demand. No explanation is given for why he would do so. The text just states that the father divided his wealth between the two sons. The older son would have received title to two thirds though the father would have continued to received the income from it until his death. The younger son received title to one third of the estate. Verse 13 tells us what he did with it.
13 “And not many days later, the younger son gathered everything together and went on a journey into a distant country, and there he squandered his estate with loose living.
It appears that the younger son was given a clear enough title to what he received from his father that he was able to liquidate the assets into money or other form of transportable wealth. Animals could have been sold and any land leased out for the years remaining until Jubilee when it would have to be returned to the family (Leviticus 25). He then took his all of his wealth and traveled to a distant country were he “wasted his possessions with prodigal living” (NKJV). This was utter financial foolishness. First, he did not leave anything behind to serve as a reserve. He was short sighted and failed to make any long term plans. Second, he traveled to a distant country where he would be alone and subject to being easily swindled in another place and culture. Though the text does not state this directly, it is safe to assume that he went far away on purpose so that he could pursue whatever he desired without anyone he knew trying to stop him, but that also meant he could not get their good advice even if he wanted it. Third, he squandered his possessions. The word here (skorpivzw / skorpidz ) means to spend foolishly and to no purpose. He wasted it, and specifically he wasted it on living that was loose, reckless, prodigal (NKJV). The word used here (ajswvtwV / as t s) pertains to senseless, reckless behavior. He lived without thinking or being concerned about the consequences.
14 “Now when he had spent everything, a severe famine occurred in that country, and he began to be impoverished. 15 “So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. 16 “And he would have gladly filled his stomach with the pods that the swine were eating, and no one was giving anything to him.
As soon as his money ran out he discovered the truth of Proverbs 19:4, 5-6, 4 “Wealth adds many friends, But a poor man is separated from his friend.” 6 “Many will seek the favor of a generous man, And every man is a friend to him who gives gifts. 7 All the brothers of a poor man hate him; How much more do his friends abandon him! He pursues them with words, but they are gone.” His troubles were quickly compounded when a famine came upon the country where he was living. He became destitute lacking basic necessities of life.
He was so needy that he joined himself to a farmer. The word here (kollavw / kolla ) means to be attached to, glued to, not “hired” as in employed which is a different word. The idea is that he would not leave the farmer alone, so the farmer let him feed the pigs, a job that would have been detestable to any Jew since pigs are unclean, but this man was desperate. The carob pods He was feeding the pigs started to look appetizing to him. I am familiar with carob since they were the parkway trees planted one street over from where I grew up. The 1 inch wide 4 to 12 inch long pods are edible, but they are dry, tough and fibrous. They can be processed into a chocolate substitute and taste sweet when chewed long enough, but the odor of the broken pod is a bit like Limburger cheese. They are not appetizing. This young man “was longing to be fed with the pods the pigs ate” (ESV). He had reached the bottom. A necessity at times before you will look up.
17 “But when he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired men have more than enough bread, but I am dying here with hunger! 18 ‘I will get up and go to my father, and will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in your sight; 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me as one of your hired men.” ’
Experience is the teacher of those who are stubborn and refuse to learn wisdom from instruction. Proverbs gives a lot of warnings about this. Here are a couple of them: Proverbs 1:7, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; Fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Proverbs 1:29–31, 29 Because they hated knowledge And did not choose the fear of the LORD. 30 “They would not accept my [wisdom’s] counsel, They spurned all my reproof. 31 “So they shall eat of the fruit of their own way And be satiated with their own devices.” Proverbs 15:5, “A fool rejects his father’s discipline, but he who regards reproof is sensible.” Proverbs 13:8, “Poverty and shame will come to him who neglects discipline, But he who regards reproof will be honored.” (See: Study on Proverbs)
This man had rejected the wisdom he should have received from his father and instead pursued his own path. He was wise in his own eyes. It was not until he came to a situation of utter poverty that he finally “came to himself” and recognized his foolishness. His father’s hired servants were better off than he was, so he resolved to return home and humbly confess his sins and ask to be such a servant. Significantly he recognizes that his sin is first against heaven. He has failed to keep God’s commandments. This is the first step of repentance. He recognized the truth and changed his mind to match it.
20a“So he got up and came to his father.” This is the second step of repentance. When there is an actual change of mind, there is a corresponding action. If there is no corresponding action, then there was no change of mind. There was no repentance.
20b “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion for him, and ran and embraced him and kissed him.” This is very significant for it indicates that the father had been watching for his son. This is not happenstance. When he did see him,
he felt compassion and ran to him. Despite his son’s foolishness, the father still loved him. The father’s excitement is demonstrated in his running to meet him. Running was considered beneath the dignity of older men, but his joy outweighed any consideration of dignity.
When his father met him, 21 “And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’” The son begins his confession with a very humble admission of his sin against God and his dad concluding that it was so serious he no longer had the right to be considered his son. This is the third step of true repentance. Humble confession of sin and acceptance of the full consequences. False repentance may admit a failure, but it will not accept the responsibility of the consequences for the failure. It will find someone else to blame and try some way to avoid the consequences. That was true of king Saul in 1 Samuel 15. True repentance admits the guilt when confronted, takes responsibility for the sin and casts themselves upon the mercy of God as did David in 2 Samuel 12.
However, the father acted before the son was able to get to the second part of what he planned to say to him about requesting to be a hired servant. 22 “But the father said to his slaves, ‘Quickly bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet; 23 and bring the fattened calf, kill it, and let us eat and celebrate; 24 for this son of mine was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found.’ And they began to celebrate.”
The best robe would have been the father’s own robe. The ring and sandals both would have indicated that he was not a slave or hired servant. All of these together demonstrate the father’s forgiveness and welcoming the son back into the family. The fatted calf was a animal kept for feasting at a special occasion, and the father designates that this is such an occasion to be celebrated. He is very clear about how he views what has happened. His son who had been lost and dead to him had been found and come to life again. This was cause for great joy and celebration.
In the context of this chapter it is clear that Jesus is using this part of the parable to illustrate the rejoicing in heaven when a sinner repents. We foolishly squander what God generously gives to us, but it is not until things get bad enough that we recognize our foolishness and are humbled enough to return to the Father knowing we deserve nothing. Our God, though grieved by our rebellion, still loves us and has been waiting for our return willing to bear the costs himself. He rejoices when what was dead has come back to life, and what was lost has been found. Repentance is reason to celebrate.
Jesus’ point is simple. If a shepherd rejoices over finding a lost sheep, and a woman rejoices over finding a lost coin, how much more does a father rejoice in the return of a lost son? It is cause for everyone to celebrate. So it is that there is celebration in heaven when a sinner repents for what was dead has come to life, what was lost has been found. Salvation of a soul causes there to be joy in heaven.
The Self-Righteous Son – Luke 15:25-32
25 “Now his older son was in the field, and when he came and approached the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 “And he summoned one of the servants and began inquiring what these things could be. 27 “And he said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has received him back safe and sound.’ “ The older son was unaware of what had happened because he had been out in field. When he hears the sounds of celebration as he nears the house, he asks a nearby servant what was going on. But he did not like the news he was given.
28 “But he became angry and was not willing to go in; and his father came out and began pleading with him. 29 “But he answered and said to his father, ‘Look! For so many years I have been serving you and I have never neglected a command of yours; and yet you have never given me a young goat, so that I might celebrate with my friends; 30 but when this son of yours came, who has devoured your wealth with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him.’”
The pent up anger in the older son begins to be revealed. He is angry and refuses to even go into the house where the celebration is taking place. When his father comes out and earnestly appeals for him to come join them, the older son’s bitter resentment of his father and his brother spills out in a torrent. This son is selfish and self-righteous.
First, he claims to have been the perfect son who always obeyed his father. While he was certainly much more obedient than his younger brother, his claim to have never neglected or disobeyed a command of his father is obviously false. Other than Jesus, no such human has ever existed. The disobedience to parents may be active and blatant or passive and hidden, but the human heart is sinful and foolish. Only God can change it.
Second, his choice of words reveals the depth of his resentment. He views himself as slave having to obey his master. That is why he uses a word (douleuvw / douleu ) rooted in the word for slave instead of the Greek word for serve and refers to his father commanding him.
Third, he accuses his father of being stingy with him. That is why he makes the comparison of not getting a young goat to celebrate with his friends while his immoral brother gets a fatted calf to celebrate. It is not actually an equivalent comparison since one is a private party for him and his friends for his own enjoyment while the fatted calf is used for a public celebration of the father over his joy of having his lost son return for the enjoyment of all. In addition, I am sure the older brother was part of many celebrations held by his father that included a fatted calf.
Fourth, he resents his father’s generosity to his younger brother who wasted that wealth. Perhaps there is some legitimacy to this or perhaps jealously for the younger brother did what he wanted and he was stuck with dad who was still living with him. He also seems to have forgotten that his father was twice as generous to him.
Fifth, he resents both calling his brother “your son” instead of “my brother.” He then accuses his brother of fornication. Whether the accusation is true or not is unknown. Brothers often know more about each other than parents know, but he brings it up here to support his accusation of his father being unfair. He is the good son and his brother is immoral, so it is unfair for a fatted calf to be used to celebrate him while he does not even get a goat.
The older brother resents his younger brother. He resents his father. He resents the celebration. The father’s response demonstrates his patience, mercy and graciousness.
31 “And he said to him, ‘Son, you have always been with me, and all that is mine is yours. 32 ‘But we had to celebrate and rejoice, for this brother of yours was dead and has begun to live, and was lost and has been found.’ “
The father was treated very rudely, yet his own character is revealed in choosing not to respond in kind, but to instead first reassure his older son that there is no threat to his inheritance. All that the father owns belongs to him. The younger son had wasted his wealth, but he would not waste the older son’s wealth.
Next, he carefully explains the reason for the celebration. It is not a party for the younger son’s enjoyment. It is a celebration because the son that had been lost and considered dead to them has been found and returned to life. Repentance is a wonderful reason to celebrate.
Jesus ends the parable on the theme of celebrating repentance, but He leaves unsaid the final response of the older brother. Does he listen to his father and come join the celebration? Or does he refuse and continue to harbor his resentment? The listener would supply his own ending reflective of his own heart.
Those who understood the point of these parables would want the older son to repent of his self-righteousness and rudeness to his father and join the celebration of his younger brother’s repentance. That would be the response of the godly in reflecting the joy in heaven over a sinner that repents. In reflection of God’s own character, it should be our desire to see sinners repent and to be joyous when they do. That includes those that have done the most horrific things to you personally. While it is right to desire justice to be carried out, the desire for revenge must be given over to the Lord as stated in Romans 12:19. Our own hearts need to become tender in pity for those who are used by Satan for such evil, for according to Ephesians 6:12, Satan is our true enemy and not other people. People are the mission field and we ought to pray for their conviction of sin and repentance.
Those that are self righteous will miss Jesus’ point and desire that the older son remain firm in his righteous stand against his immoral brother and refuse to join the unjust and unfair celebration. They will maintain their false understanding of God and believe that He is only approachable by those that meet their standards of behavior.
How you would like the story to end reveals your own heart. May you be as forgiving as the father and learn to celebrate when a sinner repents.
Straying Sons & Daughters
The parable of the two sons brings up the problem of how parents should respond to sons and daughters that stray from the faith. This is not just those that are in obvious rebellion like the younger son in the parable, but also those that are self-righteous like the older son. Both are causes of great grief. Since this is a parable and not an allegory, I want to be careful not to read more into it than is there, but this parable does illustrate some basic Biblical principles to apply in dealing with straying sons and daughters.
First and foremost is the father’s willingness to trust the Lord for what happens to his sons. His active looking for his younger son and going out to talk with his older son demonstrate that he is not passive, but after saying what he needs to say, he yields to putting them in God’s hands. Good parents love their children, but such love must desire to be used by God and not block what God is doing in the life of their son or daughter.
Second, and directly related to the first, is that this father placed both the responsibility for making decisions and the consequences of those decisions squarely on the shoulders of his sons. That is seen in his going out to plead with his older son and explaining the reasons for what was happening, but he leaves the decision up to his son. That example gives us confidence that he would have pointed out the dangers and advised against the younger son’s plan to liquidate his assets or go to a distant country, but he leaves the decision in his son’s hands. After what I am sure the father feared would happen does and his son squanders all his money and ends up destitute, he does not go rescue him. He lets his son experience the full consequences of his own decisions. The father loves the son and longs for his return, but he will not interfere with the reproofs of the Lord. He could only do that by trusting the Lord himself.
The Bible puts the responsibility of raising children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord squarely upon the shoulders of the parents. Parents are to teach their children to love God and obey His commandments in rearing them to be responsible adults. In practical terms, that means that freedom and lessons in responsibility begin early and are directly related to the abilities of the child as they grow. Greater maturity brings greater responsibility and freedom, and greater responsibility in turn pushes the child to greater maturity in handling that freedom. This is a funnel that is restricted at the bottom and gets wider as you go up until there is complete freedom as an adult. Your goal as a parent is to assess things correctly and properly expand freedom with the corresponding ability to handle the responsibility so that the child matures into an independent and responsible adult who is a blessing to others. Failures along the way are then just part of maturing instead of catastrophic events that scar them for life. Parents, you can only do this by humbly walking with the Lord, following the principles and precepts of His word, and being diligent in prayer for them and yourself.
I must warn you that keeping freedom and responsibility tied together is crucial. If you yield too much freedom too soon, your child becomes wise in their own eyes and can become very difficult to properly control. The word for young child that is that way is a brat. The word for an older child that is that way is a delinquent. You also set them up for catastrophic failure that may scar them for life with controlling fears for they will not learn the needed lessons.
If you keep them restricted too much, you prevent them from maturing and they remain dependent upon you. There are a lot of young adults that are incapable of making it on their own because they have not yet learned to handle the responsibility. There are also those that reach adulthood and go wild with their new found freedom external control because they did not learn the necessary self control.
As I already mentioned, experience is the teacher of those who for whatever reason do not learn wisdom from instruction. God is going to teach them the needed lessons through the school of hard knocks if necessary. You have to learn to trust God as he teaches your straying son or daughter in the academy of experience as they suffer the consequences of their own foolish choices.
Third, you must patiently wait for their repentance. Though the father certainly longed for the return of his prodigal son, he did not chase after him. You can be certain that he prayed diligently that the Lord in His mercy would spare his son’s life and convict him of his sin, for there would be no repentance and return home until then. Even with his older self-righteous son, he patiently pleaded and laid out the truth, but the son would continue to self-exclude himself from the joy of the family until he repented of his selfishness.
There is of course much, much more that can be said about dealing with erring sons and daughters, but these things form the foundation. The first preventive measure is to love God with all your heart, soul and strength and then diligently teach your children His commandments while following them yourself (Deuteronomy 6:4-9). Be diligent to raise them in the discipline and instruction of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4).
When they do stray, trust God yourself while holding them responsible for the consequences of their own decisions. Be loving and kind, but firm and resolved. Do not block the reproofs of the Lord while you longingly, but patiently wait for their repentance and return. Pray for God’s mercy to keep them alive and to bring them to repentance that there may be joy in heaven and in your home as confession is made, forgiveness is extended and the desired restoration become reality.
Sermon Notes – 12/3/2017
Dealing with Straying Sons & Daughters – Luke 15:11-31
The despised of Jewish society are coming to hear Jesus ____________
The Pharisees grumble about Jesus being a friend of sinners because they did not know God’s ___________
The point of the parable of finding the lost sheep is about the ______in heaven when a sinner repents
The point of parable about finding the lost coin is the joy before the angels when a sinner _________
Though not stated as in the previous parables, the point of the parable of the two sons is the _________
The Parable of Two Sons – Luke 15:11-31
This parable expresses the same truth as the previous two in a story of ____________familial relationships.
The second section is a pointed rebuke challenging the _____________________of the Pharisees
The Prodigal Son – Luke 15:11-24
vs. 12. The selfish younger son audaciously demands his father give him his future inheritance _________
He would receive one third of the estate at his father’s death, but he wants complete ____________of it now
His _______________father divides his wealth between his two sons
vs. 13. The son foolishly liquidates all of his assets, travels to a distant country and ________________it all
vs. 14-16. He quickly become ____________made worse by a local famine and he is reduced to feeding pigs
Carob pods can be eaten, but they are ________appetizing being dry, tough, fibrous and smelly
vs. 17-19. He finally came to his senses and recognizes his _________and foolishness
________________is the teacher of those who are too stubborn to learn wisdom from instruction
Recognizing the truth and changing your mind to match it is the _________step of repentance
vs. 20a. He got up and went to his father – the second step of repentance is _______upon the change of mind
vs. 20b. The father had been ______________and saw him coming in the distance and ran to meet him
vs. 21. He _______________his sins and took responsibility for his actions – the third step of repentance
vs. 22-24. The father ___________him and restored him to the household and called for a joyous celebration
We squander what God generously give us, but upon _______________there is forgiveness and restoration
Repentance of a sinner is a cause of _________in heaven and celebration on earth
The Self-Righteous Son – Luke 15:25-32
The older son was unaware of what had happened and ________when he found out his brother had returned
vs. 28-30. His _________against his father and brother spills out when the dad comes out to plead with him
The claim to have __________neglected / disobeyed his father commands is self-righteous and false
His word choices reveal he views himself as a ____________obeying a master. He resents his father
He accuses his father of being _____________and unfair using an non-equivalent comparison
He resents his father’s generosity to his younger brother while _______________what he has received
His accusation of his brother of being immoral was to highlight his father’s __________to him, the good son
vs. 31-32. His father is patient, merciful and gracious in ______________his son and reasoning with him
The parable ends on the theme of ______________repentance but leaves unsaid the older brother’s response
The godly will in reflection of God’s character desire to see sinners ___________and joy restored
The self-righteous will miss Jesus’ point and maintain their __________understanding of God’s character
Straying Sons & Daughters
Sons and daughters that stray from the faith cause ___________whether prodigal or self-righteous
The father puts his son in the Lord’s hands and will ____________Him for the outcome
The father places the _________________the consequences of the decisions of his sons on their shoulders
The father loves his sons, but he will not ____________with the reproofs of the Lord that come upon them
Parents are responsible to raise their children to be responsible __________and that begins when very young
It is crucial to keep freedom and responsibility tied ___________as your children progress to adulthood
Too much ______________results in brats and delinquents and people with controlling fears of failure
Too many _____________\results in either dependence or going wild when adulthood & freedom is reached
Learn to trust God while he teaches them the needed lessons through the academy of ______________
Joy will come when there is _______________, but until then patiently pray for God’s mercy and conviction
Be ______with the self-righteous who will exclude themselves from joy until they repent of their selfishness
Prevention: ___________God yourself and teach your children His commandments – Deuteronomy 6:4-9
Raise your children in the discipline and instruction of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4)
________God yourself while holding your children responsible for the consequences of their own decisions
Be loving and kind, but firm and resolved
Do not block the reproofs of God while patiently waiting for their repentance and return
Pray for God’s ___________to preserve their life and convict them of sin so that they might repent
Parents, you are responsible to apply God’s Word to your children’s lives. Here is some help. Young Children – draw a picture about something you hear during the sermon. Explain your picture(s) to your parents at lunch. Older Children – Do one or more of the following: 1) Count how many times “son” is referenced. 2) Discuss with your parents the importance of learning from their wisdom instead of your own personal experience.
THINK ABOUT IT!
Questions to consider in discussing the sermon with others. What is Jesus’ point in the first two parables in Luke 15? How does the parable of the two sons express that same point? Describe the selfishness of the younger son? Describe the generosity of the father? Describe the son’s foolishness? What finally makes him come to his senses? Describe how he demonstrates true repentance? Why is the older son angry? What does his resentment of his father reveal about his selfishness? What is the father’s response? Why doesn’t Jesus conclude the story? How does this parable rebuke the Pharisees? What principles can you find in this parable about dealing with straying children? What responsibilities does God place on parents in raising their children? Why must freedom and responsibility be closely tied together? What is the danger of giving too much freedom? Of being too strict? Why is it necessary for people to be held responsible for their own decisions and their consequences? How should parents pray for straying sons and daughters? What actions should they take / refrain from toward them?
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