If you are paired with a prodigal, you know pain. Few trials slice as deeply as the spouse who goes rogue, the child who rebels, or the sibling who spins out of control. Rejecting their role and shutting out those that love them, wayward souls thunder with reckless entitlement, myopic selfishness, and chaotic, grief-instigating choices.
It’s a world of indescribable, emotional turmoil. Here’s some reasons why.
You flog yourself with the “why-stick” — why is this happening to them? Why is this happening to us? To me? Why? Whack. Whack. Whack. “Why?” is a cross that lovers of the wayward carry.
Often, they carry an ironic shame, too. With the wayward, a subtle paradox appears: the prodigal acts shamefully and feels justified — you love them sacrificially and feel ashamed. It’s a hellish twist on the idea of justification — their shame imputed to you.
Additionally, prodigals possess a dangerous, life-sucking power. They siphon the fuel out of those who love them in a “weariness-war.” The effects of this power take you beyond mere fatigue to a mind-enfeebling, soul-sapping, confidence-wrecking, depression-inciting, bone-tiring exhaustion.
What the Wayward Want
1. Choices Without Consequences
For someone fleeing from God, freedom is typically the ability to pursue desires without the burden of responsibility for their decision. John, infatuated with another woman, left Sally and their marriage of ten years in pursuit of freedom. When this appeared unstable to a judge, and Sally was awarded custody of the kids, John was outraged. Why?
A prodigal doesn’t typically engage in moral reasoning, so consequences strike them as offensive, unjust, or excessive. They fail to see that true freedom recognizes and honors the God-installed fences that define the borders between good and bad, wisdom and folly, sowing and reaping.
2. Autonomy Without Accountability
Wayward people want autonomy without the rule of love. They want a world where their wants are met without question or accountability. For the prodigal, life is about indulging desire, not accepting responsibility. The results are often disastrous.
Charlene is rarely cooperative, often stoned, and has little tolerance for discussion about how she spends her time or money. Charlene seeks a world where she can freely indulge and never explain. When accountability comes knocking, she withdraws behind an impenetrable emotional wall of unfettered autonomy, away from meddlesome scrutiny.
Few things plant a family in the manure of dysfunction quicker than feeding the delusion that one can live autonomously, yet dependent; unaccountable, yet family-funded.
What the Wayward Need
Ask the average Joe or Jaclyn about “love,” and their answers will skim the shallow pond of sentimental feelings, magnetic attraction, or the thrill of someone who makes them feel alive. Christians reject the merely sentimental and embrace a more robust vision of love. “By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us” (1 John 3: 16).
At the eternal core of biblical love, we find a rugged cross. Blood-drenched yet triumphantly empty, this cross testifies to a promise-keeping love that goes beyond trifling sentiment. Think of it as “rugged love” — a love with teeth!
Love is rugged when it is
- strong enough to face evil;
- tenacious enough to do good;
- courageous enough to enforce consequences;
- sturdy enough to be patient;
- resilient enough to forgive;
- trusting enough to pray boldly.
Consider just two examples.
Strong Enough to Face Evil
Pete knows Becky is a serial adulterer, but he says nothing. Claire believes her brother is on drugs, but she won’t probe. Tammy overlooks the cruel comments her husband makes about her in public. Though each situation is distinct, they are all connected by a common compromise: Pete, Claire, and Tammy are all tolerating evil. If you ask them why, they say they do it all for love.
The Bible says, “Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil” (Romans 12:9). True and genuine love abhors evil. It means that we have eyes to see evil and the courage to respond to it. Sin and folly inhabit the soul of the wayward like unwelcome squatters. If these vices are ever to be expelled, they can’t be ignored or hidden, but must be honestly named and exposed.
Love goes beyond prodigal management to the deeper power of gospel application.
The gospel of God’s justification of evil people does not deny evil. In fact, the gospel shows us God’s deepest feelings about evil — he abhors it. “The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men” (Romans 1:18). God’s wrath is his settled and determined response to injustice, sin, rebellion, and evil. The gospel showcases how God met radical depravity with genuine, rugged love.
Let’s face it, loving like this is not simple or easy for us. To get here, you need to experience this love yourself, a love so sturdy that it enables you to face your biggest fears — rejection, anxiety over the unknown, failure. Giving rugged love begins by receiving the rugged love of God and holding fast to the promises of the gospel, knowing that he will never leave us or abandon us (Hebrews 13:5) and that he is truly with us until the end (Matthew 28:20).
Tenacious Enough to Do Good
Naming evil is an important step, but it is only a first step. Love is made rugged by a tenacious commitment to “not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:21).
By doing positive good — responding with godly, rugged love — we overcome the evil that has been done. But if things deteriorate, we need to be ready for the painful reality that love may require letting a prodigal go. In the heart-breaking act of letting go, our intent is not to punish the person or to retaliate for what they have done to us. We must not meet evil with evil. When we do, everyone loses, and no one gets loved.
Rather, we let go as a way to do good.
Doing good requires tenacity, because the moments when it’s most necessary are the same moments when it’s most difficult. As Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend.”
Desperate Times Need Deeper Love
Anyone embracing rugged love faces huge emotional hurdles. It feels like we are piling on, almost as if we saw a drunk stumble in the street and decided to kick him to teach him a lesson. But if we’re serious about helping people enslaved in selfishness, we will find faith to think honestly and deeply about the gracious grit of genuine love.
Don’t be afraid. Speak the truth in love, and trust Jesus. He may surprise you.
Before the fall:
Genesis 1:28 And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” 29 And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food. 30 And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so.
After the fall, after the flood:
Genesis 5:9 Then God blessed Noah and his sons, saying to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth. 2 The fear and dread of you will fall on all the beasts of the earth, and on all the birds in the sky, on every creature that moves along the ground, and on all the fish in the sea; they are given into your hands. 3 Everything that lives and moves about will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything.
4 “But you must not eat meat that has its lifeblood still in it. 5 And for your lifeblood I will surely demand an accounting. I will demand an accounting from every animal. And from each human being, too, I will demand an accounting for the life of another human being.
Laws for the people:
Leviticus 11 New International Version (NIV)
Clean and Unclean Food
11 The Lord said to Moses and Aaron, 2 “Say to the Israelites: ‘Of all the animals that live on land, these are the ones you may eat: 3 You may eat any animal that has a divided hoof and that chews the cud.
4 “‘There are some that only chew the cud or only have a divided hoof, but you must not eat them. The camel, though it chews the cud, does not have a divided hoof; it is ceremonially unclean for you. 5 The hyrax, though it chews the cud, does not have a divided hoof; it is unclean for you. 6 The rabbit, though it chews the cud, does not have a divided hoof; it is unclean for you. 7 And the pig, though it has a divided hoof, does not chew the cud; it is unclean for you. 8 You must not eat their meat or touch their carcasses; they are unclean for you.
9 “‘Of all the creatures living in the water of the seas and the streams you may eat any that have fins and scales. 10 But all creatures in the seas or streams that do not have fins and scales—whether among all the swarming things or among all the other living creatures in the water—you are to regard as unclean. 11 And since you are to regard them as unclean, you must not eat their meat; you must regard their carcasses as unclean. 12 Anything living in the water that does not have fins and scales is to be regarded as unclean by you.
13 “‘These are the birds you are to regard as unclean and not eat because they are unclean: the eagle,[a] the vulture, the black vulture, 14 the red kite, any kind of black kite, 15 any kind of raven, 16 the horned owl, the screech owl, the gull, any kind of hawk, 17 the little owl, the cormorant, the great owl, 18 the white owl, the desert owl, the osprey, 19 the stork, any kind of heron, the hoopoe and the bat.
20 “‘All flying insects that walk on all fours are to be regarded as unclean by you. 21 There are, however, some flying insects that walk on all fours that you may eat: those that have jointed legs for hopping on the ground. 22 Of these you may eat any kind of locust, katydid, cricket or grasshopper. 23 But all other flying insects that have four legs you are to regard as unclean.
24 “‘You will make yourselves unclean by these; whoever touches their carcasses will be unclean till evening. 25 Whoever picks up one of their carcasses must wash their clothes, and they will be unclean till evening.
26 “‘Every animal that does not have a divided hoof or that does not chew the cud is unclean for you; whoever touches the carcass of any of them will be unclean. 27 Of all the animals that walk on all fours, those that walk on their paws are unclean for you; whoever touches their carcasses will be unclean till evening. 28 Anyone who picks up their carcasses must wash their clothes, and they will be unclean till evening. These animals are unclean for you.
29 “‘Of the animals that move along the ground, these are unclean for you: the weasel, the rat, any kind of great lizard, 30 the gecko, the monitor lizard, the wall lizard, the skink and the chameleon. 31 Of all those that move along the ground, these are unclean for you. Whoever touches them when they are dead will be unclean till evening. 32 When one of them dies and falls on something, that article, whatever its use, will be unclean, whether it is made of wood, cloth, hide or sackcloth. Put it in water; it will be unclean till evening, and then it will be clean. 33 If one of them falls into a clay pot, everything in it will be unclean, and you must break the pot. 34 Any food you are allowed to eat that has come into contact with water from any such pot is unclean, and any liquid that is drunk from such a pot is unclean. 35 Anything that one of their carcasses falls on becomes unclean; an oven or cooking pot must be broken up. They are unclean, and you are to regard them as unclean. 36 A spring, however, or a cistern for collecting water remains clean, but anyone who touches one of these carcasses is unclean. 37 If a carcass falls on any seeds that are to be planted, they remain clean. 38 But if water has been put on the seed and a carcass falls on it, it is unclean for you.
39 “‘If an animal that you are allowed to eat dies, anyone who touches its carcass will be unclean till evening. 40 Anyone who eats some of its carcass must wash their clothes, and they will be unclean till evening. Anyone who picks up the carcass must wash their clothes, and they will be unclean till evening.
41 “‘Every creature that moves along the ground is to be regarded as unclean; it is not to be eaten. 42 You are not to eat any creature that moves along the ground, whether it moves on its belly or walks on all fours or on many feet; it is unclean. 43 Do not defile yourselves by any of these creatures. Do not make yourselves unclean by means of them or be made unclean by them. 44 I am the Lord your God; consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am holy. Do not make yourselves unclean by any creature that moves along the ground. 45 I am the Lord, who brought you up out of Egypt to be your God; therefore be holy, because I am holy.
46 “‘These are the regulations concerning animals, birds, every living thing that moves about in the water and every creature that moves along the ground. 47 You must distinguish between the unclean and the clean, between living creatures that may be eaten and those that may not be eaten.’”
Peter’s Vision is not about food, but about Gentiles:
Acts 10:9 About noon the following day as they were on their journey and approaching the city, Peter went up on the roof to pray. 10 He became hungry and wanted something to eat, and while the meal was being prepared, he fell into a trance. 11 He saw heaven opened and something like a large sheet being let down to earth by its four corners. 12 It contained all kinds of four-footed animals, as well as reptiles and birds. 13 Then a voice told him, “Get up, Peter. Kill and eat.”
14 “Surely not, Lord!” Peter replied. “I have never eaten anything impure or unclean.”
15 The voice spoke to him a second time, “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.”
16 This happened three times, and immediately the sheet was taken back to heaven.
17 While Peter was wondering about the meaning of the vision, the men sent by Cornelius found out where Simon’s house was and stopped at the gate. 18 They called out, asking if Simon who was known as Peter was staying there.
19 While Peter was still thinking about the vision, the Spirit said to him, “Simon, three[a] men are looking for you. 20 So get up and go downstairs. Do not hesitate to go with them, for I have sent them.”
21 Peter went down and said to the men, “I’m the one you’re looking for. Why have you come?”
22 The men replied, “We have come from Cornelius the centurion. He is a righteous and God-fearing man, who is respected by all the Jewish people. A holy angel told him to ask you to come to his house so that he could hear what you have to say.” 23 Then Peter invited the men into the house to be his guests.
What do you think?
Personally I think we were meant to be plant eaters until the fall. Just like everything else, the fall tarnished everything!
The covenant between God and Noah and his offspring gave them all living creatures to eat.
All the rules in Leviticus 11 are meant to taken as a health issue and a separate nation issue as one ties it into the context of the whole chapter.
Even I can’t, in good conscious, make the case that Peter is talking about food and not Gentiles. [But some people try]
The story of the weaker believer only eating vegetables while the stronger believers will eat the meat sacrificed to idols because idols hole no threat to them…
Romans 14:1Accept the one whose faith is weak, without quarreling over disputable matters. 2One person’s faith allows them to eat anything, but another, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. 3The one who eats everything must not treat with contempt the one who does not, and the one who does not eat everything must not judge the one who does, for God has accepted them. 4Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To their own master, servants stand or fall. And they will stand, for the Lord is able to make them stand.
1 Corin 8, Colossians 2, 1 Corin 10. All talk of foods in general and offered to idols.
in the end:
Do All to the Glory of God
23 “All things are lawful,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful,” but not all things build up. 24 Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor. 25 Eat whatever is sold in the meat market without raising any question on the ground of conscience. 26 For “the earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof.” 27 If one of the unbelievers invites you to dinner and you are disposed to go, eat whatever is set before you without raising any question on the ground of conscience. 28 But if someone says to you, “This has been offered in sacrifice,” then do not eat it, for the sake of the one who informed you, and for the sake of conscience— 29 I do not mean your conscience, but his. For why should my liberty be determined by someone else’s conscience? 30 If I partake with thankfulness, why am I denounced because of that for which I give thanks?
31 So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 32 Give no offense to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God, 33 just as I try to please everyone in everything I do, not seeking my own advantage, but that of many, that they may be saved.
So I get Acts and Facts magazine and I had a conversation with a friend about dinosaurs in the bible. I took the 7 points the executive editor posted in the magazine and researched them.
Tell me what you think….
- dinosaurs were created on the day 6 along with the other land animals and humans.
20And God said, “Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the vault of the sky.” 21So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living thing with which the water teems and that moves about in it, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 22God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the water in the seas, and let the birds increase on the earth.” 23And there was evening, and there was morning—the fifth day.
24And God said, “Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: the livestock, the creatures that move along the ground, and the wild animals, each according to its kind.” And it was so. 25God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good.
26Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals,a and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”
27So God created mankind in his own image,
in the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them.
2. dinosaurs walked the earth same time as humans, just perhaps not often in the same places.
3. The bible mentions Leviathan and behemoth.
Let’s start with Leviathan:
Leviathan is possibly a crocodile, whale, serpent, devil. It is used illustratively.
This has to do with the redemption of Israel.
A large sea animal.
Psalm 74:12Yet God my King is from of old,
working salvation in the midst of the earth.
13 You divided the sea by your might;
you broke the heads of the sea monsters[d] on the waters.
14 You crushed the heads of Leviathan;
you gave him as food for the creatures of the wilderness.
Psalm 104:24 O Lord, how manifold are your works!
In wisdom have you made them all;
the earth is full of your creatures.
25 Here is the sea, great and wide,
which teems with creatures innumerable,
living things both small and great.
26 There go the ships,
and Leviathan, which you formed to play in it.[b]
With Leviathan being Capitalized, I would venture to say its the devil.
Job 40:15 “Look at Behemoth,
which I made along with you
and which feeds on grass like an ox.
16 What strength it has in its loins,
what power in the muscles of its belly!
17 Its tail sways like a cedar;
the sinews of its thighs are close-knit.
18 Its bones are tubes of bronze,
its limbs like rods of iron.
19 It ranks first among the works of God, [this makes me think of angels]
yet its Maker can approach it with his sword.
20 The hills bring it their produce,
and all the wild animals play nearby.
21 Under the lotus plants it lies,
hidden among the reeds in the marsh.
22 The lotuses conceal it in their shadow;
the poplars by the stream surround it.
23 A raging river does not alarm it;
it is secure, though the Jordan should surge against its mouth.
24 Can anyone capture it by the eyes,
or trap it and pierce its nose?
It may not be entirely coincidental that the oldest book in Scripture, Job, lists several mythical animals. Dated around the 1660s B.C., it was written more than two hundred years BEFORE Moses penned the books of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. Job references five of our seven exotic beasts – dragons (Job 30:29), the behemoth (40:15), the leviathan (41:1), unicorns (39:9 – 10), and possibly the phoenix bird (29:18).
https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?t=kjv&strongs=h8577, this lexicon definition helps the dinosaur option.
Even with all this info… it still doesn’t convince me these beasts were dinosaurs.
4. Legends and historical accounts from around the world include dinosaur-like creatures as dragons, indications that humans actually witnessed real dinosaurs alive after the flood.
this explains ‘dragons’ in other passages besides Revelation, where a dragon is clearly the Devil.
5. the 60 or so basic kinds of dinosaurs could easily fit on the ark.
So many arguments for that there….People assume there are just 2 of every kind of animal and but as you can read
19 You are to bring into the ark two of all living creatures, male and female, to keep them alive with you.20 Two of every kind of bird, of every kind of animal and of every kind of creature that moves along the ground will come to you to be kept alive.21 You are to take every kind of food that is to be eaten and store it away as food for you and for them.”
He brought food for the humans and the animals to eat.
2 Take with you seven pairs of every kind of clean animal, a male and its mate, and one pair of every kind of unclean animal, a male and its mate, 3 and also seven pairs of every kind of bird, male and female, to keep their various kinds alive throughout the earth.
14 They had with them every wild animal according to its kind, all livestock according to their kinds, every creature that moves along the ground according to its kind and every bird according to its kind,everything with wings. 15 Pairs of all creatures that have the breath of life in them came to Noah and entered the ark. 16 The animals going in were male and female of every living thing, as God had commanded Noah. Then the Lord shut him in.
Another argument can be made for God putting a ‘spell’ on the animals so that they didn’t eat, fight or procreate for the time they were on the ark.
If you wanted to get real crazy, you could say that is this happened
[23 Every living thing on the face of the earth was wiped out; people and animals and the creatures that move along the ground and the birds were wiped from the earth. Only Noah was left, and those with him in the ark.]
There would be no fossil evidence from before the flood.
6. Scientific research on soft tissue…. of dinosaurs confirms they lived thousands, not millions of years ago.
7. Noah’s worldwide flood formed dinosaur fossils found on every continent, including Antarctica.
Matthew 6:1-6 English Standard Version (ESV)
Giving to the Needy
6 -1 “Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.
2 “Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.
3 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing,
4 so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
Matthew Henry states:
6:1-4 Our Lord next warned against hypocrisy and outward show in religious duties.
What we do, must be done from an inward principle, that we may be approved of God, not that we may be praised of men. In these verses we are cautioned against hypocrisy in giving alms.
Take heed of it. It is a subtle sin; and vain-glory creeps into what we do, before we are aware. But the duty is not the less necessary and excellent for being abused by hypocrites to serve their pride.
The doom Christ passes, at first may seem a promise, but it is their reward; not the reward God promises to those who do good, but the reward hypocrites promise themselves, and a poor reward it is; they did it to be seen of men, and they are seen of men.
When we take least notice of our good deeds ourselves, God takes most notice of them. He will reward thee; not as a master who gives his servant what he earns, and no more, but as a Father who gives abundantly to his son that serves him.
as I was looking this up I was hoping the meaning was different than what i knew to be true. I have been feeling a bit under appreciated and i know I shouldn’t because of the whole ‘treasures in heaven’ thing.
I do do the things I do for God and I want His kudos, but it just seems like no one else cares. I bust my butt helping people, networking, doing extra… blah…. I guess it doesn’t mean much in the big scheme of things. I will just keep doing what I do and loving on people and helping.
For the director of music. Of David. A psalm.
1 You have searched me, Lord,
and you know me.
2 You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
3 You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
4 Before a word is on my tongue
you, Lord, know it completely.
5 You hem me in behind and before,
and you lay your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.
7 Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,”
12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.
13 For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
17 How precious to me are your thoughts,[a] God!
How vast is the sum of them!
18 Were I to count them,
they would outnumber the grains of sand—
when I awake, I am still with you.
19 If only you, God, would slay the wicked!
Away from me, you who are bloodthirsty!
20 They speak of you with evil intent;
your adversaries misuse your name.
21 Do I not hate those who hate you, Lord,
and abhor those who are in rebellion against you?
22 I have nothing but hatred for them;
I count them my enemies.
23 Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.
Amen and amen!