The Parable of the Prodigal Son is probably one of the best-known parables from the Bible. It is one most of us remember and are able to relate to. Have you ever wondered why this story is so relatable? See Luke 15: 11-32.
The parable was about the son who was ‘once lost and is now found’. It is a story of unconditional love, repentance and forgiveness.
As Christian women, this parable is a reminder of all the times we walk away from God or choose our will rather than do his. He knows that our path will most likely lead us to sin and regret but he lets us go because he gave us the power to choose (our free will).
Even after the prodigal son had squandered his inheritance, his father accepted him and gave him back his sonship. This is what God does for us every time. No matter where we’ve been and what we have done. His word reminds us that
“…a broken and contrite spirit, God, will not despise.”
Can our works bring about redemption?
The elder son was unhappy that his younger brother was quickly welcomed back and by the fact that their father was all too willing to celebrate this return with the fattened calf. He goes on to remind his father that he had always been the dutiful son, doing what was expected of him.
Growing up, I had generally been a good child. I didn’t steal, avoided telling lies, didn’t sneak out to meet boys or get up to other rascally things.
In my eyes, I felt I was a great kid as I more or less followed the rules. This also meant I wasn’t always understanding when I saw others go off the rails.
You probably knew people or had friends who people called the black “sheep”. They did every imaginable thing and then some. Somewhere down the line, they give their life to Christ and everything is rosy.
I can’t even recall the many times my friends and I talked about the “bad” girls who got married early and usually to really good guys. I had friends that would tell me they were tired of being good and being “virtuous”. They felt it no longer paid them since the girls who had slept around and cheated were now married.
But we were focusing on the wrongs things.
We believed that it was our works that ensured redemption and salvation, which is not the case. I thank God for opening my eyes to understand the error in my ways as these were taking me down the beautiful road of destruction.
Here are Six Lessons we can learn from the Parable of the Prodigal Son:
Love should not be measured
True love is infinite, it is unconditional and all-encompassing. The elder son felt that by giving his prodigal brother the fatted calf, his father loved his brother more and him less. But we need to understand and remember that God’s love cannot be measured or reduced. Neither is it limited or hampered by the love for another. See Romans 8:37-39
The dangers of Pride
Did you notice something about the actions of the elder son? He felt he was the righteous one. After all, he had stayed with his father like I had been the “good girl”. This was coming from a place of pride.
One child was burdened with a lust for life and the other with pride (even if he didn’t see this).
I consider pride to be one of the most dangerous sins. This is because many times it sneaks up on us without our knowledge. We may think we are being good, confident and independent but this quickly turns to arrogance, lack of empathy and selfishness. There are many Bible references on the end of a man with pride and we are certain that it leads to a fall and utter destruction. You can read these passages on pride.
There are many Bible verses on the end of a man with pride and we are certain that it leads to a fall and utter destruction.
No one is perfect.
No one is without sin. “…Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw the stone at her.” John 8:7 (ESV)
We each have things we are struggling with, our thorns, perhaps. We should never forget the individual behind the actions. The father didn’t forget the fact that the prodigal child was still his son and will always be his son.
But the elder brother forgot this was his brother.
He had hardened his heart against him and this made him see from the lens of envy rather than celebrate the return of his brother.
Judge not but be compassionate
Are we quick to point fingers when others are suffering? Do we find it hard not to judge? I have noticed that this is one of those human foibles. We seem to have an opinion on the things we see. If someone is sick or facing certain trials, we may automatically blame them for this without knowing the true facts. Do you do this? Rather than criticise, we should be willing to understand, have an open mind and an open heart to what they are going through.
Anger clouds our decisions and actions
In the Parable of the Prodigal son, it was recorded that the elder son was angry and refused to join the celebration. He was more focused on himself and his feelings than on the return of his lost brother.
“My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.”
We have to remember that the world and life don’t revolve around us. We might be thinking it’s unfair that the prodigal son should still have a share in their father’s wealth after he had squandered what was given to him.
But you know the truth? Their father could have decided not to give either of his sons any part of his wealth. It was within his prerogative to do so but he didn’t.
There is a place for repentance and acceptance
The prodigal son was repentant and asked for forgiveness. He approached his father in humility and penitence. God is continually calling us to a place of repentance and to grow our relationship with him.
God’s redemptive love
The Parable of the Prodigal Son is a beautiful story of God’s redemptive love for us. Even when we were lost he loved us still and wanted us back in his arms. More so, it teaches us that we all matter to God, both the Christians and nonbelievers and as our father, he longs for us to enter into his place of rest.
This also means that he loves us all and the blessing of one child will not affect nor will it hinder the blessings of the others.