Relationships are hard!
Here, Jesus shares of the prodigal son, a brother with a personal view that develops into an attitude that seeks to rob and devour him, and a Father with love that knows no limits.
How we view situations, circumstances, pain and suffering determines how we respond, how we go through and go forward.
Consider the view of the prodigal. He is the quintessential definition of the ‘microwave’ generation! I want what’s mine and I want it now! He’s impatient and ambitious; he seeks thrill and adventure – a costly endeavour to anyone who doesn’t implement solid boundaries and strong Christian character. But he has some admirable qualities too, he is by no means a fool – ‘when he finally came to himself’ indicates a quiet humility.
The brother often misunderstood and criticised, though he needed to be. We see what offense that turns to hurt does when untreated. Like an open wound it looks terrible and smells much, much worse. Often times evident to everybody but the injured, he walks around with an air of entitlement. There is a stare, a look that highlights his anger, through every experience, every discussion, every relationship, he filters it through his pain, his frustration, his anger, his hurt. No wonder Hebrews 12:15 calls it a ‘root of bitterness’ … his trouble is planted deep, it’s well watered and cared for, he has fostered this for years, day and night he treats this offence like it’s a newborn. Cares after it like it’s the source of life … reality is, if left unattended it will cause him certain death. Big brother is a cautionary tale for all of us in the kingdom, his story warns us to guard our heart (Proverbs 4:23), also it’s a ‘protect your pearls’ example (see Matthew 7:6).
Look to the father, a picture of our heavenly Father if one were ever painted. It encapsulates who God is, He equals love without borders. Let’s discover how He views things … his filter is love, compassion, mercy and grace. For without this there would have been no restoration, forgiveness, grace or mercy – no wooden cross, no Calvary’s hill.
Mercy just doesn’t forgive, it goes so much further, it restores. Upon the prodigals return he receives forgiveness in the form of an embrace, a hug, a kiss. True to the words of this sojourning misadventure this would have been enough, from the pit to the hired hand. But, mercy goes further – by its very characteristics, mercy breaks through the bounds of forgiveness and adds restoration. This is what’s so amazing about grace – it goes beyond human thinking and emotional limitations stuck on hurt and offence.
Mercy says ‘Bring the finest robe in the house, quick – and put it on him. Get a ring for his finger, and sandals for his feet. And kill the calf we have been fattening in the pen. We must celebrate with a feast.’
Relationships are hard!
Christian Leadership speaker and author John Maxwell wrote “I am convinced that all people have potential.”
Mother Theresa said “You can do what I cannot, I can do what you cannot – together we can do great things.”
Albert Einstein observed “A person first starts to live when he can live outside of himself.”
Three things that prevent us from reaching our best self:
- Failing to recognise our potential
- Trying to do it all by ourselves
- Not overcoming self
Three things big brother failed to recognise – the cost was too high a price for the return on his investment.