Six Takeaways from the Prodigal Son
THE BIBLE is full of stories modelled for us—stories that are relevant to our time.
They contain teachings we must learn from and adapt to our lives—things that we must hold very close to our hearts.
JESUS SHARED THE STORY of a family that was nearly destroyed by shame.
The father had two sons. The younger one said to him, “Father, give me the share of property that is coming to me.” (Luke 15:12)
He was cocky and self-centred. He wanted it now.
After a few days, he packed his things and left for a distant country where he lived recklessly.
After he had spent all his money, there was a famine in the land, and he began to want.
He signed up with a citizen of the country who assigned him a job in the pig farm, and he nearly fed himself with the pig’s food.
But when he came to his senses, he said, “How many of my father's hired servants have more than enough bread, but I perish here with hunger!”
‘I will return and say, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy of being called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants.”’ (Luke 15:19)
He chose to return home–to where he had relationships.
Be ready to forgive
THE FATHER must have been praying for him. While he was afar off, he saw him and ran to him.
From his gait, he could tell that it was his son. The father smothered him with kisses and hugs—rather than shame him, the father forgave him.
There is no pit so deep that God’s love is not deeper still – Corrie Ten Boom.
Become a grace hero
EVEN AS HE RECITED HIS SCRIPT, the father told the servants to give him a new robe, put a ring on his finger and shoes on his feet.
When the older son got home and heard music playing, he asked one of the servants what was happening. The servant told him that his brother had returned, and the father threw a party for him.
This celebration did not go well with the older son. He felt that his father had lost his mind. He was angry and wouldn’t go in.
He had made a stupid mistake, and the older brother wanted to shame him. He was judgmental.
When his father came outside to plead with him. He said, “‘Look, these many years I have served you, and I never disobeyed your command, yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might celebrate with my friends.” (Luke 15:29)
The older brother was cold, and self-righteous. He sounded like someone whose service was not to honour his dad but for material gains.
His external righteousness was a mask of his unrighteous acts. He behaved like the Pharisees.
Today, many of us are guilty of the same. When people make mistakes or fail, we shame them. We act out our hurts.
“If you and I can’t think of the last time we were wrong, something is really wrong. We’re losing our grip of reality,” says Beth Moore.
Stop shaming, start encouraging
Stand up to shame
SHAME IS DESTRUCTIVE and unhealthy. It shines a light on our flaws. It deserves no respect. Deal with it. Stand up to it.
IF YOU'RE SUFFERING from any form of shame, share it with someone who understands.
Your healing must be tied to your sharing—everyone who shared their hurts with Jesus got healed.
Desist from shaming people
FOR THOSE who like to humiliate others—kindly, desist from it.
Stop being the judge. By the way, you do not have enough facts to be one—only God can be the judge.
BE COMPASSIONATE. The relationship between the father and the son isn’t a superior to an inferior —it was a relationship of equals.
The father never saw him less than a son. He understood his pain and did something about it.
BRINGING IT TOGETHER
WHEN HE REACHED OUT to his father, he wasn’t asking for how to behave better but for forgiveness. He wanted someone to remove the cloud of shame.
The father accepted him and gave him a ladder to climb out of the shame hole.
Not everyone deserves to hear your story—when next you share one, share it with someone who understands.