Scripture: So he got up and went to his father. But while he was still a long way from home his father saw him, and his heart went out to him; he ran and hugged his son and kissed him. Luke 15:20 (NET)

Observation: The parable of the Prodigal Son is probably one of the best known, best loved stories of all times.  It is much more than a fable, such as those written by Aesop, or a bedtime story, like the ones written by the brothers Grimm.  Many of these stories have a moral or practical lesson to teach children, and some of them have become part of life and culture and even common parlance.  The difference in Jesus’ parable is that it is not simply a nice bedtime story but a beautiful allegory of the love and forgiveness that God extends to us.
     While we tend to look at the father’s forgiveness for the wayward son, who wasted his inheritance, we often overlook the father’s love and forgiveness for the other son.  In reality, the father loves both of his children – the one who left and the one who stayed – because in their heart both failed to love their father.  The younger son, by asking for his portion of his inheritance, was basically expressing his wish that the father were dead.  The older son, with his anger and unforgiving spirit, did not reflect how generous the father had been with him all his life.  The younger son, selfish though he was, accepted the father’s generous offer of love and forgiveness.  The older son, self-righteous as he was, rejected the same father’s love and forgiveness.

Application: As much as we as parents would love to see our children be obedient, loving, and to listen and follow our word and advice, as they grow and gain their independence often they do things that are contrary to anything, and sometimes everything, we have taught them.  Nothing breaks the heart of a parent more than to see their children turn their backs on their faith and beliefs, and to watch them live a life contrary to the principles they were told from childhood.  At the same time, nothing brings parents more joy than to see they wayward children come full circle back.
     In order for children to be able to come back home, they need to have grown with the knowledge that their parents’ love for them is unconditional.  We may not like the decisions they take or agree with the choices they make, but we can still extend to them our love and the assurance that as much as nothing we do can separate us from the love of God so nothing they do can separate them from our love for them.  How we relate to our children will show them how they view God and can determine how they will relate to us and to Him.

A Prayer You May Say: Father, thank You for Your generous love and forgiveness toward us.  Help us, as parents, to be as generous with our love and forgiveness toward our children.

Used by permission of Adventist Family Ministries, North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists.



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