Dealers of Hope Final

                                                                   The Prodigal

In the New Testament, Luke 15:11-31, Jesus told the story of the Prodigal Son. A prodigal is someone who spends money or resources wastefully or recklessly. The context and theme of this story is finding what was lost. Lost sheep, lost money and a lost son.

This great story is about a younger son who goes to his father and says, “Give me my share of the estate.” The inheritance of an estate is usually divided up upon the death of the father, of the family, so this was uncommon. The son was planning his action long before he posed his request to his father. Often, when an act of separation takes place, it has been predetermined. Who knows what the son was struggling with and why he would make this request? He could have been thinking of many things like, how come my friends do not have to work like I do? Maybe he was tired of dealing with a family member and wanted to get away from them? Possibly, he lived a sheltered life and just wanted to see what the real world had to offer. We don’t know his reason for running away. What we do know is that the presenting issue is rarely the real issue. Generally, the decision to rebel or detach from others is held secret and motivated by something else like, not feeling valued. The disconnect process in relationships is; disappointment, disillusionment, discouragement, and ultimately detachment.

When the son went to the father and asked for his inheritance, the father gave it to him. Reluctantly, I am sure. There was a lengthy dialogue between the father and his son I bet.
The son went to a place a long way from home. He said to himself, “Maybe now I can live like I want, I’ll do it my way!” The scripture says that he spent all his inheritance on wild living. Our imaginations can certainly paint that picture. While doing so, the son seemingly did not think about the consequences of his behavior. He was deceived and had embraced an illusion. The devastating outcome of illusions is being disillusioned. It is heartbreaking and can overwhelm the soul.

After wasting his money and resources he became a slave. He was feeding pigs as a job. He was so hungry that he wanted to eat the pods the pigs were eating but no one would give him any. He remembered the good meals he ate at home; I am sure. It was during this time that he processed his sinful actions against his father, family, and most of all heaven. He had finally come to his senses.

We can choose our sin, but we cannot choose the consequences for our sin. We can’t control the harm we may have caused others in our rebellion and hurtful actions. The regret of choices we made can be overwhelming. Only God can heal those areas in our hearts. brings freedom to move forward with life. You cannot afford to get stuck in your failures. Your failures do not define who you are! This son’s identity was not a slave. He was a privileged son and very loved by his father.

He humbly journeyed home to see if there could be mercy shown to him. The father saw him coming and ran to meet him. He threw his arms around the son’s neck.
It was a very emotional meeting. Both men were probably crying. The father did not arrive with an attitude of, “I told you so,” or present a list of requirements that would have to be met before coming back into the family. The son humbly confessed his rebellion.
The father was overwhelmed with delight to see his son alive and home where he belonged. His response was to ask that the household staff bring the best robe and put it on him. He put a ring on his finger, sandals on his feet, and a fattened calf was slaughtered for this grand celebration.

The older brother heard about this event, and he refused to attend it. He went to his father to ask questions and plead his case of justice. The father begged him to attend the celebration of his lost brother returning home. The older brother bitterly told his case about how unfair his father’s actions were to him and how devalued he felt. After all, he had been faithfully working hard for his father, and he never disobeyed him. The father simply replied to the older son, “you are always with me and everything I have is yours.” In the Hebrew law, it says that the firstborn son receives a double portion of the father’s inheritance. The son undoubtedly knew that, but he was still angry with what he considered his father’s prejudiced actions.

The attitude and actions of the older son are not uncommon. Often, the feeling of being overlooked, not valued or appreciated, builds over time, and one can feel bitter resentments.

The father’s attitude and actions are an example to us of how to respond to someone who has made poor choices. We cannot force people to make right choices. We cannot rob people of their, God-given, volition. We make our own choices, and we reap the consequences, both good and bad, of those choices. That does not mean that we have to withhold our opinion about their choices. It means we do not have control over anyone else.

The father was excited, beyond words, to see his son coming down the road. The scripture makes no sign that he met him with judgment. In fact, it reads that “he fell on his neck and kissed him,” he did not shame him. He was met with love, mercy and grace.
It is probable that you have made some poor choices. It is important to know that your Heavenly Father is not holding on to your list of your failures. He is good and He loves you beyond comprehension. He will not give you a list for penance. He will not broadcast your poor choices and sin. If you turn towards Him, He will love you. He has already prepared good things for you. You have a new identity. God’s love, blessings and inheritance has no end date.

Your responsibility is to” not trip over what is behind you.” God is holding good things for you and not from you. Your future is up to you and no one else! The way to freedom is to come to our senses, turn away from our sin, and turn towards God, only! Let him meet you and throw his arms around you to welcome you home. Lessons are learned and it’s time for a new beginning!

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