His father said to him, ‘Look, dear son, you have always stayed by me, and everything I have is yours. We had to celebrate this happy day. For your brother was dead and has come back to life! He was lost, but now he is found!”
Luke 15: 31-32 (NLT)
Someone thought they would help Jesus and called this story, “The Parable of the Prodigal Son.” Now true, it is about a son leaving home, but it would be more appropriate to call it, “The Parable of the Loving Father.” The story is about a father who had two sons, one irresponsible and one responsible when it came to the matters of the farm. It would have been easy to disown the son who left and enjoy the pleasure of the son who stayed behind. But that isn’t how love works. Dr. David Benner in his book, “Surrender To Love,” gives great insight into the Father’s love. He writes, “The Father’s love reflects the Father’s character, not the children’s behavior. My behavior – whether responsible or irresponsible – is beside the point. Responsible behavior does not increase the Father’s love, nor does irresponsible behavior decrease it.” The prodigal son returns home and the father is beside himself with pure unadulterated joy. This wasn’t a time for rebuke. It was not the time to test the son’s sincerity. The son’s behavior and consequences could be dealt with later. It was time to lavish love on his lost son. But the other brother did not understand. The saddest part of the story is that the son who stayed home had every opportunity to bask in his father’s love. But he took the Father’s love for granted. Both boys missed their father’s love. One returned home to receive it. The other had it all the while and ignored it. Which are you? Are you far from God’s love today? Return to him. Or, have you taken His love for granted? If so, draw close to the love that God the Father has for you.
Father, I thank You for Your love for me. Forgive me for the times I take Your love for granted. Forgive me for the times I have taken advantage of Your love and rebelled. Help me today live in the knowledge that You love me unconditionally.
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