This week I am blessed with a new perspective on 1The Parable of the Lost Son. When I read this story in the past, I focused on the lost son himself. Or on the brother, the one who stayed doing his duty, but had a judgmental attitude. There is another person in this parable.
My last post was to be on the “goin’ ons” in Milly’s Realm. Life has been a whirlwind and the post remains unfinished. Maybe later I can put the pieces together. Right now I am dealing with something I cannot share here.
It is the third Sunday of Easter in my faith. I found comfort through the parable of 1The Lost Son. While reading Max Lucado’s book “Six Hours One Friday,” something drew me to his writing on the lost son. It is the end of the story that caught my attention this time. Mr. Lucado describes the father’s point of view and actions in a detail I have not read before.
It got me thinking of being a parent. I have received a lot of parenting advice over the past two decades. A few weeks ago someone told me I needed to make my sons do something I wanted them to do. I said, “They are grown. It doesn’t work that way.” Then this person lectured me on my parenting skills! Of all the nerve! I thought. “They are not even a parent.”
I have been accused of being too soft and too hard on my sons. People tell me to take care of myself or they tell me to take care of my sons. The list goes on and on. I was angry after the discussion. I thought, How dare they judge me as a mother. They don’t live in my world, and they don’t know my sons.
I find now that my children are grown, old habits die hard. My instinct is to shelter them but they are men and women. I want to fix their problems. They make their own decisions. I am reminded that I am no longer responsible for their actions. While I can support them, I cannot fix.
This is the dilemma the father in our parable faces when his son says:
“1Father, give me the portion of goods that falls to me.”
The scripture doesn’t say how the father reacted to his son’s request. I would pray, cajole, and analyze their request to death. Did this parent do the same? At some point, the father decides.
“1So he divided to them his livelihood.”
We know the son returns. He is sorrowful, repentant, and ashamed, and then “… 1a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, ran and fell on his neck and kissed him.” Can you see the father? He looks up from his work, surprise flits across his face. Then I can see warm compassionate tears glimmer in his eyes. “It’s him. He has returned,” His father whispers. He drops whatever he is doing and joy takes over his feet as he runs to his lost son. Can you hear his shout of joy? “It’s him! It’s…” as he calls out his son’s name.
He opened his arms wide; wrapping his son is his love; as he falls on his son’s neck and kisses his child. In the parable the father is God. He welcomes us back into his fold, with a shout of joy, when we return, He calls us 2by name. Remember he does not force our decision. It is always ours to make. In the parable, we are one of the sons. I have been the lost daughter. Mostly, I have been the good and judgmental daughter.
Now I am a parent waiting for God to work in his children. This is hard for me. They are no longer mine. I asked for them. He gave me all three of my children. We raised them as best as we could. They are adults. They will find their own way back to God. I must trust God and my… I hate to call them children; my adults to find their own adventures on their life journey.
1Luke 15:11-32 [NKJV] The Parable of the Lost Son.
2John 10:3 – “To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.” [NKJV]