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Treasure Digest: A Parent's Perspective on the Prodigal Son

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Treasure Digest

A Parent's Perspective on the Prodigal Son

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The parable of the "prodigal son" in Luke 15:11-32 Luke 15:11-32 [11] And he said, A certain man had two sons: [12] And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falls to me. And he divided to them his living. [13] And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living. [14] And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want. [15] And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. [16] And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave to him. [17] And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father's have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! [18] I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before you, [19] And am no more worthy to be called your son: make me as one of your hired servants. [20] And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him. [21] And the son said to him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in your sight, and am no more worthy to be called your son. [22] But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: [23] And bring here the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry: [24] For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry. [25] Now his elder 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 is come; and your father has killed the fatted calf, because he has received him safe and sound. [28] And he was angry, and would not go in: therefore came his father out, and entreated him. [29] And he answering said to his father, See, these many years do I serve you, neither transgressed I at any time your commandment: and yet you never gave me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends: [30] But as soon as this your son was come, which has devoured your living with harlots, you have killed for him the fatted calf. [31] And he said to him, Son, you are ever with me, and all that I have is yours. [32] It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this your brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found.
American King James Version×
has been a favorite of many throughout the years, and it is no wonder. It speaks of hope when a person goes astray.

The son was like many young people throughout the ages. He had to learn the hard way. In this case he came to himself when "reality hit."

The parable doesn't mention how strong the bonds were between the young man and his father before he decided to leave.

If the bonds were strong, then it would have made it easier for the son to come back and confess that he was wrong. He would not have feared that his father would condemn him or humiliate him. He would have known that his father would not hold it against him for years to come or rub his nose in it.

What if his father had been harsh and condemning? It would have been much harder for him to come back, knowing that he would be facing a lecture about how the father had told him so.

As parents we like to think that it could never happen to us, that our kids could never go astray. Somehow life doesn't always work that way.

What we need to do before that possibility arises is to build the bonds of love with our young children. They need to know that we love them no matter what. They must know that we will always be there for them. They must know that they can always come to us and that we will receive them with open arms.

As many parents of prodigals will testify, the bonds of love can be even stronger when a young person realizes that he made some mistakes and wants to turn his life around. It can be very rewarding and joyful on both sides when a young person does change. Both can learn from each other and the benefits can be carried down to the grandchildren.

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