I was reading a story at the Huffington Post about something totally unrelated, but the story used the prodigal son parable (Luke 15:11-32) for an analogy.
Really, this all comes down to an illustration of a parable that Jesus told about two sons. In the wide world, it’s known as the prodigal son, but the story is really about two brothers. The story tells us that a younger brother gets the inheritance from the father (demonstrating his hate for the father through wishing he were dead), goes and spends it and then is welcomed home by the father. The eldest son sees this, resents it and hates the father by yelling at him for taking the younger son back.
However, I want to look at this from the view of the father. In this case, in terms of things that I have talked about in a previous post, grace and guilt.
As I said in a previous post, one of the things that we learned in Celebrate Recovery is that it is a process and, at least in Celebrate Recovery, that this process has 12 steps. Several of these steps are at work here.
1. We admitted we were powerless over our addictions and compulsive behaviors, that our lives had become unmanageable.
9. We made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
We’ve talked about this before, but I when I read this the other day, I wanted to approach this from the father’s perspective. In this case, with youth who have been going behind the backs of their parents. As a volunteer youth leader for some time, I have seen where the kids even are doing “things” and have a hard time coming clean with it to us. Usually, we in the youth ministry know that something has been going on, whether from friends or just interactions with the students. The thing is that even though we know, they are reluctant to confess. When they do, I have said to them, “yeah, I knew that was going on. ” The thing is, that we wait for them to make the first move. There are times that they need to be confronted, but once the sin has been done and it isn’t going on anymore, they often don’t need to be confronted, but they do need to confess it. The problem for me is the waiting.
As I have gotten older, I have begun asking God, “Is this what it’s like for you?” This is no different. God is the father in the parable, and is waiting for the younger son to come home. As patient as I can be, it becomes frustrating for me to wait for those things that I know that people need to get out of their system. So I wait. I’ve waited with things from one of our sons, and I have waited for kids in youth group to return to the fold. It isn’t easy. So I wonder if God gets this frustrated with us, when we don’t run to him.
God wants to throw a party for us, if we will just come back and confess. Ease your conscience, confess and set yourself free.