"My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.” Luke 15:31-32
This story is the most profound story I have ever encountered. The story of a family ripped apart by the selfishness of the youngest son, who wants to do things his own way and be his own man, separate from His family. This son, when he hits rock bottom and comes to his senses, makes the long walk home. He expects to return, not as a son (for he had given up that right), but as a servant. Instead of receiving the cold shoulder, like he deserved, his father runs to him and welcomes him back into the family. It is a great story of mercy and love.
The older brother is rightfully angered. This brother of his had done so much damage, he had spat on the family name. Now he is being welcomed, reinstated and celebrated. Imagine for a second this was your brother and sister who did this to your family, how would you feel about them?
I find the father’s final words telling. He essentially says to His older son; “You have always been my son – but so has your brother.” You see the difference between the two sons was never about their place in the family. The Father had never removed the rights of the younger son. The difference was their mind sets. The younger son was not living like a son – he was living like a servant or an outsider or even worse a slave. His Father never stopped loving him, was always waiting for him and was always ready to welcome him back into the family.
From time to time we will operate as one of these sons. Like the younger sons we will rebel and want our own way, hit rock bottom and need to come back to our loving Father, needing His love and mercy and restoration. Or maybe we may slip into the persona of the older son, angered by the amazing grace shown to our brothers and sisters who have so offended us and our father by their choices. Like the younger son the older sons in us need to also to come to our Father for forgiveness.
Are you living like you are Sons and Daughters of your heavenly Father?
Are there some people in your life that you need to forgive and welcome back into the family?
How is God calling you to live as His sons or daughter today?