22 But the father said to his servants,[d] ‘Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. 23 And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. 24 For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to celebrate.
25 “Now his older son was in the field, and as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 And he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant. 27 And he said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fattened calf, because he has received him back safe and sound.’ 28 But he was angry and refused to go in. His father came out and entreated him, 29 but he answered his father, ‘Look, these many years I have served you, and I never disobeyed your command, yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might celebrate with my friends. 30 But when this son of yours came, who has devoured your property with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him!’ 31 And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. 32 It was fitting to celebrate and be glad, for this your brother was dead, and is alive; he was lost, and is found(Luke 15:22-32).’”
photo credit: familyshare.com
As the story goes, the older brother was in the field. He wasn’t exactly happy to see his shifty younger brother. In fact, he is probably thinking, “This brother has run off and squandered everything. He has wasted all of his money, he is broke now, and the father just lets him back into the house. The father is happy to see him, and wants to celebrate. He wasted his portion of the inheritance as if his father was dead. He totally abandoned us and disowned us. How could he do this to us? Is my dad stupid? How can he just let him back in the house with no punishment?” He had been faithful. He had been taking care of his half of everything. This doesn’t sit right with him.
When the older son confronts the father he lets him know that he has never had the opportunity to share a feast with his friends. Why is that? The Father let him know that he has always been with him. But, his brother was considered dead to us and now he is back. But, here is the key. Thank you to Ann Aschauer at seekingdivineperspective.com for this insight. The father answered the question of the older brother’s heart. He said, “All I have is yours.” The brother didn’t want to split the inheritance again. He was right. He shouldn’t have to. The brother’s actions created a problem.
Here is an important point when dealing with an addictive personality or a prodigal child. Actions do have consequences. The father restored him to his status as a son, he had the ring, the robe, the shoes and the fattened calf like we talked about last time. He was provided for. He had authority. He had the possessions. But, his portion of the possessions were wasted. They were gone.
The older brother needed to hear, “All I have is yours.” The younger son did waste his half. The father never told the older son that he needed to split up his inheritance. Actions do have consequences. When we deal with addictive personalities or prodigal children, we usually don’t have a good balance on the two opposite ends of the spectrum.
On one hand their is grace, and you can’t ever get away from God. If you belong to God you will always be His, and it doesn’t matter what you have done. Yes, this is true and biblically accurate to teach this. At the same time as we see here, the principle that goes with grace is consequence. If you have an inheritance and you spend it all, you are loved, welcomed home, but you don’t get your brother’s portion.
If you are hooked on drugs, alcohol, sex or even approval yes you can be redeemed and the Father will come running to you, but you have caused some hurt along the way. Yes, God was hurt but you can be restored with Him quickly. However, you may have hurt others in ways that will not be repaired in regards to how they see you, they will not trust you or have you in their life anymore. If you are the younger son in the story, you must be prepared for this.
But, the first step back is to know who you are in relation to the father. Be a testimony of life change. Be excellent when no one is looking. Live for an audience of one. You must own the things you have done. You must make restitution with those you have hurt as best as you can or are allowed to. Pray that God will heal your brokenness and theirs.
If you identify more with the older brother in the story, don’t hold on to your inheritance stronger than your love for the one whom you thought was dead, but now is alive. Don’t paint them into a corner without giving them the second chance God wants them to have. It is ok not to trust them. It is ok to have boundaries. But, don’t be the older brother. Trust the Father will reward you since you have always been with him, but allow the one who betrayed you to come back and love them. Yes, their are consequences. Things are not instantly better between the oppressor and the oppressed, but the love of the father can heal any broken wound.
Thanks for Reading.
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