In our daily walk we have many different relationship battles, yes battles. We as people are not necessarily wired to get along. You may disagree, but in the reality of life sometimes we just don't get along and that shows our many different impressions about life, words, and actions. If you don't agree look at the proof. Over 50% of CHRISTIAN marriages end in divorce in our country. CHRISTIAN families many times experience disunity and even hatred at times. This is not part of God's plan for each of us, but it happens. Just look at the "prodigal son" example in Luke 15. The scripture is given below.
Luke 15: “A man had two sons. 12 The younger son told his father, ‘I want my share of your estate now before you die.’ So his father agreed to divide his wealth between his sons. 13 “A few days later this younger son packed all his belongings and moved to a distant land, and there he wasted all his money in wild living. 14 About the time his money ran out, a great famine swept over the land, and he began to starve. 15 He persuaded a local farmer to hire him, and the man sent him into his fields to feed the pigs. 16 The young man became so hungry that even the pods he was feeding the pigs looked good to him. But no one gave him anything. 17 “When he finally came to his senses, he said to himself, ‘At home even the hired servants have food enough to spare, and here I am dying of hunger! 18 I will go home to my father and say, “Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, 19 and I am no longer worthy of being called your son. Please take me on as a hired servant.”’ 20 “So he returned home to his father. And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him. 21 His son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son.’ 22 “But his father said to the servants, ‘Quick! Bring the finest robe in the house and put it on him. Get a ring for his finger and sandals for his feet. 23 And kill the calf we have been fattening. We must celebrate with a feast, 24 for this son of mine was dead and has now returned to life. He was lost, but now he is found.’ So the party began.
When I surrendered to follow the call into full time ministry it hit my father pretty hard and even my mother was a little indifferent about it. My dad had a bitter attitude about "church people" that stemmed from a situation in the church he was in as a child during a business meeting. My dad was soured on church people and now his son was going to be right in the middle of them and he wasn't impressed. My mom had known my life long goal to be a professional singer and she didnt' want me to give up that dream she knew meant so much to me. But she also realized my commitment was heartfelt and real and supported me. My dad's reaction really bothered me and I held some bad feelings toward him and they controlled me for a long time and a seed of bitterness crept into my heart. I didn't even realize this until God showed me in His Word just where my heart was in this situation. Andra and I had accepted the call to FBC Pleasanton, California in 1984 and it was during our time serving out there that God truly got ahold of my heart and convicted me about my attitude toward my dad and after much soul searching I surrendered and repented. The next time I saw my dad I confessed my bad feelings toward him and asked Him to forgive me and he said "I never even knew you were feeling those things."
As a believer God put the heat back on me and it helped me realize my fault in the whole situation and He brought me to a place where I quit judging my dad and once again loved my dad. I came home and boy it was a sweet moment for me and it took the pressure off of me immediately.
In the above scripture we see a son who is a prodigal. Prodigal (def) - spending money or resources freely and recklessly; wastefully extravagant. So the son didn't have a bad attitude about his father, but the prodigal just wasted his inheritance on reckless spending and wild living and then came crawling back to his father, who saw him from a distance and immediately was glad his son had Come Home. The problem was with the older brother. He saw no fairness in his father's response and the following scripture tells his reaction to the whole thing. Luke 15:25 “Meanwhile, the older son was in the fields working. When he returned home, he heard music and dancing in the house, 26 and he asked one of the servants what was going on.27 ‘Your brother is back,’ he was told, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf. We are celebrating because of his safe return.’ 28 “The older brother was angry and wouldn’t go in. His father came out and begged him,29 but he replied, ‘All these years I’ve slaved for you and never once refused to do a single thing you told me to. And in all that time you never gave me even one young goat for a feast with my friends. 30 Yet when this son of yours comes back after squandering your money on prostitutes, you celebrate by killing the fattened calf!’ 31 “His father said to him, ‘Look, dear son, you have always stayed by me, and everything I have is yours. 32 We had to celebrate this happy day. For your brother was dead and has come back to life! He was lost, but now he is found!’”
The older son had to come to grips with his jealousy and hatred towards the unfair way his younger brother had squandered his inheritance, while he stayed and worked faithfully on the farm. Of course, he might have thought, "How can my father not only forgive, but celebrate my brother who has done so much wrong. I guess you could say "He missed the point." Boy did he!! And really, don't we at times?
Our disunified families could all be made whole if pride and jealousy could be done away with, and love and appreciation could replace them. That is what a family is and should be to remain strong and healthy. God revealed my wrong attitude about my father and I dwelled on the unfairness of my dad not liking my life choice and let that burn in me to the point of sin. When I got that right with God and quit using my dad as my excuse it brought me to a new plane of spiritual growth and helped me in my daily walk. I went from a place of power to a place of humility and looked more like Jesus because of it.
In the story of the prodigal son the main point is forgiveness and love, but the older brother missed both of those and the father hit them both on the head. God has showed us both of those through our relationship with Jesus and He has justified us through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. When we Come Home to Jesus the Holy Spirit shows us how to Come Home in our daily walk with others, especially our family. Maybe it is time for all of us to learn to be like Jesus and forgive and love like our Heavenly Father and set into motion an example of Godliness. I know it worked for me, but I had to put my judging heart in the background for it to happen, so that I might be like the father and not the older brother. COME HOME....COME HOME..... COME HOME
The Pilgrimage Continues.....