“Do advise – don’t badger.”

That’s a piece of advice from former prodigal Carol Barnier. She was raised by faith-filled parents, and after a season of wandering, came to Christ later in life. She says parents whose child has wandered away from the church should wait for them to invite your counsel.

If you offer advice without openness, it will harden their heart and lead nowhere. If your child invites your counsel, you have an open door! Use your response carefully.

“Is it something that’s helpful? Beyond [saying it] once or twice, you’ve got to stop.”

Focus on boundaries, not behavior.

A lot of parents start focusing on the behaviors of their child, which is natural as a person’s behavior is an indication of his or her heart posture.

“We can get so caught up in trying to get their behavior to change that it then becomes about behavior. Not about heart issues. Not about salvation issues.”

Imagine your wayward son comes to you and asks you for a list of things you want him to do. At your request, he moves out of his girlfriend’s apartment, he leaves his job at the bar and starts going to college again. He’s back in church every Sunday and shaking hands with everyone. He’s stopped swearing. Wonderful things are happening.

So what’s the problem?

It’s a surface solution that will not result in real change. His actions are being done to please you, not because he’s encountered God.

“He’s learned how to play the game. But he hasn’t had any change in his heart.”

If you focus only on the behaviors you’re sending a secret message to your children: It really is more important to me how you look to others.

Carol says we have to die to our pride. We can’t worry about what others think of our child and worry instead about what God thinks of them instead.

“When you focus on those behaviors, you end up pushing this child farther from the very God that you want him to embrace.”

Key Scriptures: Job 4:12

Featured Songs: Joy by Rend Collective; I Believe by Chris August; Can’t Be Moved by Jeremy Camp

Highlight : Don’t badger your prodigal child

Loving your prodigal child

3 Responses to "Don’t badger your prodigal child"

  • Charles says:

    Hi Living the Promise Staff,
    Just caught a short segment of the program yesterday and was not only enlightened but left wondering how I could get a copy of Carol Barnier’s book on ‘Loving your Prodigal’. Thanks for the help you can provide. Blessings, Chuck Gaston, pastor, DEFC, Deforest, Wisconsin

    1. Grace says:

      Hello, Pastor Chuck!
      Thank you for your reply. You can click on the link above to Carol’s influencer page, where her products are listed for sale through Amazon.
      Grace (Ass’t Producer)

  • Traci Petersen says:

    Thanks, Susie, for this program. My twenty-year-old daughter moved out over 2 years ago. I am grateful to hear the wisdom of Carol Barnier–that daughter is still in contact with us and is moving closer to us, little by little!

Leave a comment

Have someting to add? Login or quickly create an account to leave a comment.