It’s Painful to Watch But Keep Loving Them Anyway!

Keep on loving, even when it hurts. Being the mentor or a parent of a young adult isn't easy but don't give up, they need you.

As a mentor and a spiritual mother to a few young adults, I  often shake my head as I watch them topple right back into sinful patterns they swore they’d never return to. I could see the warning signs they were headed for trouble. And yet, I have to walk the fine line between pointing out the warning signs along the way and stepping back to allow the Holy Spirit to do His work.

Watching as they experience the consequences of poor decisions is exceedingly painful. My heart aches even as I want to throttle them! But that urge to knock some sense in them quickly dissipates when I remember my foolish and selfish decisions in my early 20s. I give them a break.

I  remember the presumption I lived under back then. Not just me, but so did many of my young friends. “God’ll take care of us; we don’t need to work that hard. It’ll all work out. God will provide just like He did for Corrie ten Boom, Brother Andrew, and many others. He’ll take care of us.” It didn’t occur to us that just where Corrie was when God provided miraculously – a prison of war camp! Brother Andrew was smuggling bibles behind the Iron Curtain!

I figured it out only after I experienced the harsh consequences of my lack of motivation and personal responsibility. Yes, God generously supplies and gives His kids gifts. However, He didn’t create me to be a trust fund kid. He wants me to partner with Him in the kingdom, working alongside Him.

Not only did I walk in presumption and entitlement, but I also returned to the sins of my past during times of stress. I thank God for mentors who shared how they overcame similar struggles. Their transparency paved the way for me to open my heart to them. They were not afraid to confront. However, they always did so with unconditional love. With their help, I stepped out of some very destructive patterns.

I made foolish decisions over the years and am forever grateful for those who loved me too much to leave me in my messes.

Despite it all, God got me through. It’s funny, though; conversations I had with mentors decades ago still ring in my ears. I wasn’t listening back then; it would have been so much better if I had. But God taught me the hard way. His mercy is, at times, severe.

I thank God that the mentors in my life never stopped praying for me, even when I refused to listen to wise counsel.

It’s easy for me to let go of judgmentalism toward the young and immature when I remember my foolishness and outright sinful behaviour. As a mentor or spiritual mother, I’ve learned that my job is first to be a friend, then a confidant and lastly a wise counsel, but only if they so wish me to be.

May I be as faithful an intercessor as those who prayed for me!

Personal Application

Are you a mentor, spiritual or biological parent of a young adult? Do you tend to counsel before you listen and confront before you love? Do you consider their foolish and sometimes outright sinful decisions a personal affront? Take your answers to these questions to the Lord.

Keep on loving, and keep on praying. Study the heart of the Prodigal Son’s father. How did he interact with his sons? Was he trying to control their behaviour? What drew the prodigal back home beyond the obvious empty belly? What was his response to his bitter elder son? How do you respond to angry retorts? Do you continue to love those who take advantage of your unconditional love?

Keep on loving, even when it hurts. Being the mentor or a parent of a young adult isn’t easy, but don’t give up. They need you.

Until Next Week

©2023 Katherine Walden

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