"Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it." Proverbs 22:6 ESV
A lot of people have influenced who we've become. We may have been raised by single parents, multiple parents, other families, or even numerous other families. These are the people who nurtured us daily, showing us love, and when needed discipline. There were also many other people involved in our lives; neighbors, teachers, coaches, mentors, parents of friends, and church members. The collective objective of all these folks was to teach us morals, respect, and honor. Their desire for us was to become the best possible person we could be, carrying those things learned as children into adulthood. Most of the time, this works, and we all turn into responsible and productive members of society, but we also know there are exceptions. Sometimes despite the best efforts, things don't work that way.
Our Heavenly Parent also wants us to be the best person we can be. He showers us with love and compassion, and sometimes when needed, he shows us discipline. As our teacher, God provides instructions on how to lead just and moral lives through His Word. He sent his one and only Son, Jesus as our mentor, providing an example of righteousness. Through the Holy Spirit, we have a neighbor who watches over us. Like earthly children, sometimes we depart, but like the father in the parable of the Prodigal Son, God waits with open arms, running towards us to greet us and welcome us back.
God, we give you thanks today for your love and compassion towards your children. We know you desire what is best for us, and provide us with everything we need to make that possible. Forgive us for the times when we depart from your way. Please help us today as we share your love with your earthly children. Let our lives been an example to them of what it means to be loved by you. In Jesus' name, we pray.