His Father Loved Him: A Reflection on the Prodigal Son


This Sunday, the son sees the Father – He had no concept that his father beloved him.

The terrible second got here: The Prodigal Son went and instructed his father that he had determined to go away. The rationale that he wished to go away his father’s family, and his father’s arms, was to fill the outlet in his coronary heart that might not obtain a father’s embrace. On account of his alternative, the son could be reduce off from his father’s love and, discovering himself within the midst of a “nice vacancy,” he would nearly die. Like historical Israel earlier than him—and like us, the Church, after him—he was blind to his father’s eyes and deaf to his father’s voice. He wanted, instantly, to run to his father for the love he was on the lookout for, the love that might carry him again to life. 

Once we go away our heavenly Father, he reacts in the identical means as the daddy within the parable: He provides us a reminiscence of his kindness and awaits our return.

When the Prodigal Son left, the daddy was not offended. Had the daddy chosen shouting and violence as a substitute of a present, the son wouldn’t have wished to return. Because it occurred, the son nonetheless got here to consider the lie that his father wouldn’t take him again—that their relationship would by no means once more be what it as soon as was. At that second, the daddy wished his son to recollect how he had blessed him with an infinite inheritance quite than turning into offended when he left. Even when his son didn’t understand the total import of that reward, the daddy hoped that his son’s coronary heart would fire up the reminiscence of the love and mercy that the daddy confirmed him in the mean time of his apparently last rejection. The daddy hoped the son would acknowledge, in his intestine, My previous man loves me. All this time, I had him flawed. And the attractive a part of the story is, the son’s previous man was proper.

What prompted the son’s rejection? Why wasn’t he capable of obtain his father’s love for him? The reply is that Prodigal Son had a illness that ran in his household. Like his older brother, he felt that he was chargeable for making himself lovable. The parable of the Prodigal Son shocks us into rejecting that age-old lie, which John corrected within the first century: “It’s not that we have now beloved God, brothers, however that he beloved us.” (1 John 4:10) Clearly, the daddy’s love was by no means a query of what his son deserved: The daddy threw a banquet for his son instantly after listening to that he had squandered half his property! The daddy ignores the comment about “not deserving” to be known as a son and simply goes again to showering love on his son, restoring the sonship he had at all times had by placing a gown on his shoulders, a hoop on his finger, and sandals on his ft. The son had abused others after which abused himself by needlessly pondering he was undesirable. Now he comes residence. The daddy races to fulfill his son and throws his arms round him, heedless completely of what the younger man has finished. You’re right here with me at all times, and I’m so glad you got here again, I think about the daddy whispers as he kisses him. I remembered you with such love, my son, and I at all times knew you’ll come residence.

The issue is that we simply don’t understand that we’re at all times with our beneficiant Father, and we are able to at all times come residence to his embrace. A few of us, just like the youthful son, could be caught in a cycle of self-indulgence, disgrace, and self-pity every now and then. At these instances, our guilt is clear and our drawback is solvable. We may give up feeding filthy pigs in a overseas land, swallow our delight and are available again residence. 

When delight takes root in an externally righteous individual just like the prodigal son’s brother, nonetheless, it’s extra harmful and far more durable to eliminate. This individual sees others’ abuses—“He swallowed up your property with prostitutes!”—however can’t see that he’s abusing himself. Whereas his brother fell into a lifetime of apparent sin and then was trapped by disgrace, the righteous elder son had at all times feared that he was not adequate in his father’s eyes. He thought that as a substitute of seeing him as a son, his father noticed him as a “slave” (doulos). The worry of displeasing his “slave-master” father swept by means of the elder son’s life like a river present, compelling him onward to at least one good exercise after one other, at a tempo that nearly choked him.

This frenzied tempo allowed the elder son to keep away from the truth that his trigger was hopeless: No slave would consider being made a son only for doing as he was instructed! At most, a slave might solely hope to flee extreme punishment.

However like a fish in water, the elder son by no means stopped to consider this nice and overwhelming worry. He had by no means lived exterior it.

Till the hurly-burly stopped and rage took over. The lull in exercise produced by the daddy’s get together let unfastened a wave of anger and a deep distrust that the elder son by no means knew was inside him. Whereas he was busy with good works, the son would have pointed to these works as proof that he beloved his father.

Now he started to see the works as they actually had been: proof of his disbelief that the daddy beloved him. 

The son activates his father now and vents his anger: “All these years I slaved for you and never as soon as did I disobey your orders, but you by no means gave me even a younger goat to feast on with my mates!” Concern creeps in alongside the son’s anger, now that he has voiced this thought. The daddy could have the prospect to rewrite the son’s psychological story, revealing that he’s not an unworthy son slaving for a imply, ungenerous father. The son’s beliefs and his identification could very nicely have to vary. If he had been to befriend anybody at his father’s get together, he may catch himself beginning to chuckle, saying he’d by no means believed his father would throw this get together for his household and mates within the first place. However in hanging again from the feast, the elder son is taking himself a lot too severely, evaluating himself to his brother and telling off his father for welcoming him again.

This son, too, must swallow his delight and are available again residence.

If the story of the elder son is stirring one thing inside you, and your life is certainly one of exercise and good works however little peace, get assist. The Father needs far more for you: He desires you to come back to a data of himself.

This information of himself the Father desires for you is the data that the Ebook of Genesis lovingly tells of: “Adam knew his spouse Eve.” I think about our first mother and father standing simply transfixed, one with the opposite—every recognizing the opposite’s immense goodness, every unable to breathe due to the enormity of the reward.

Due to our brokenness and our nearly determined should be taught to wish, we frequently have an extended method to go earlier than our relationship to the Father appears to be like remotely prefer it did for Adam and Eve earlier than the Fall. Counselors and non secular administrators have supplied indispensable assist to me in making my very own journey, as have non secular mentors and discipleship teams. The Father prepares a means—at all times!—for Jesus to come back into our lives and reveal the Father’s coronary heart.

You’re a son or daughter after the Father’s coronary heart. I hope that studying this reflection has helped you uncover no less than a method that the Father, seeing you, could be eager to reveal himself extra absolutely to you, by means of the ministry or presence of one other individual. Via this ministry and thru prayer, could you be launched from any resentments or missed expectations that could be retaining you from the Father’s coronary heart. Could the Father, as a substitute, offer you to know who he actually is: the one who appears to be like on you with loving amazement and presents you the whole lot he has in Christ.

Could you hear the therapeutic phrases, “My son or daughter, you’re right here with me at all times; the whole lot I’ve is yours!”

Image credit: de:Otto Mengelberg (1817-1890), Public area, by way of Wikimedia Commons

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