Of all of the characters in the bible who I like and admire, I admire the Prodigal Son and his Father. To recap: the youngest son decides to take his share of the inheritance and goes off and squanders it on a lifestyle that I don’t know if anyone would approve of, even by today’s standards. He runs out of money and as he’s feeding pigs, considers eating what the pigs are eating. He realizes that even the slaves of his father are living and eating better than he is now. So he comes home begging forgiveness.
The young man hits rock bottom. How much lower can he possibly go? I think not too much more if he’s considering eating the slop the pigs are eating. But instead of giving up, he goes home. It takes courage to admit a mistake, to admit you’ve done wrong. It takes courage to own up to a poor decision, a poor lifestyle choice. How many times do we see someone hide from it, blame someone else, keep on doing damage to oneself and others by continuing with the poor choice or even worse, give up completely? This young man doesn’t do any of this. He comes home, admits his mistake, begs forgiveness, and even offers to live as one of the slaves to earn his keep. I would say the young man learned a painful, but necessary lesson and grew up.
Who I admire most though is the Father. According to the story, he sees his son who is still far off. That implies that he has been looking and waiting for his son to return. Talk about love and forgiveness! He didn’t say, “I told you so!” He didn’t say, “You screwed up!” He didn’t say, “Forget it. You had your chance and you blew it!” No, he didn’t choose any of these options. Instead, the Father embraced his son. He put a ring on his finger, a cloak on his shoulders and threw him a party. I said it once, but talk about love and forgiveness! No grudge. No, “You have to earn it!” Just the love from a Father who cared and was concerned enough to wait and watch and see his Prodigal Son from afar.
I see myself at various times playing the role of the Prodigal Son and at times playing the role of the Father. How much more I enjoy being the Father! I get to search and welcome back. I get to forgive and move on. I get to feel better and make someone else feel better too. Two for the price of one really good decision, one really good choice. How much better can it possibly get?
Life Your Life, and Make A Difference!