11 And he said, “There was a man who had two sons.12 And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of property that is coming to me.’ And he divided his property between them. 13 Not many days later, the younger son gathered all he had and took a journey into a far country, and there he squandered his property in reckless living. 14 And when he had spent everything, a severe famine arose in that country, and he began to be in need. 15 So he went and hired himself out to[b] one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed pigs. 16 And he was longing to be fed with the pods that the pigs ate, and no one gave him anything.
17 “But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have more than enough bread, but I perish here with hunger
photo credit: sciencebuzz.org
Jesus tells this story right after talking about the lost coin and the lost sheep. Now it is about to hit a little closer to home. So, the man has two sons and one of them is particularly ungrateful and asks for his inheritance early. Even today, this is highly insulting. We have all been there and heard a grandchild say something like, “Grandpa when you die, can I have ……….” Then their are two hits, a parent hitting the kid and the kid hitting the ground.
This is a grown adult asking for the inheritance. From talking with many people who have a loved one who struggles with addiction this seems to be the first stage. They gamble. They are greedy. They are selfish. Give me my inheritance, and they run off. He squandered the property. He lived recklessly and without regard of his father’s name or reputation. He is off on his own and hard times are about to happen.
So, he hires himself out and discovers even the pigs he is feeding are eating better than him and at this point, he would settle for eating with the pigs. But, he can’t even get permission to eat what the pigs are eating.
Imagine the Pharisees. They know that pigs are dirty and now he can’t even eat what they eat. The Pharisees know that the pig is unclean and this isn’t an acceptable vocation for one of God’s people. This son has sunk to a very low level. In their minds they are thinking, yeah he is getting what he deserves. The son actually begins to think that his father’s servants are eating better. He will go be a servant of his father. Surely, he can’t be a son anymore. He broke his heart, and wasted his inheritance. His decisions were terrible and the father has no more liability. The son completely blew it. Now that He is eating with the pigs, the best he can hope for is for his father to allow him to work with the workers, but being a son is over for him.
But, when this addictive personality has his moment of clarity he simply recalls that his father’s servants are treated better. He understands that at least he won’t starve if he goes back, but things will never be the same. Understand the original motivation is hunger. He says he will apologize, but what is really happening? “If I apologize, I will get to live and eat there.”
When talking to someone about an addict in their family. They first have to realize the bottom. You pray they hit it. You don’t pray they have a lucky break. You pray that they hit the bottom. They need to have no more dignity, nothing they can roll the dice on. They need to come from a place of humility. That is where repentance and life will finally begin.
As we speak, God is writing many stories of people who have failed and are continuing to fail him now, but at some point they will be looking up from the pig troughs and realize they need to go back and try to make it right. Addiction is strong, and they will fight and hold on as long as they can, but strength begins when they finally get to the end of themselves. That is when they look up, and repentance can begin. So, for your loved one, pray for them to hit the bottom and look up.
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There are 260 chapters in the New Testament. You go to work 5 days a week. There are 52 weeks in a year. 52 X 5 = 260. This year, Take the Challenge! Change your life!
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