New Living Translation (NLT)
Parable of the Lost Son
11 …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.[a]’
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.
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!’”
I have always loved this parable, it’s a powerful story of love and forgiveness. It was originally told by Jesus to the Pharisees, for they had hardened their hearts, and forgotten to REJOICE when a sinner returns to God. It also shows the bitterness and resentment that can come when unforgiveness occurs, as shown by the angry older brother. How dare younger brother be treated so well, despite his rebellion. This attitude blinds him to the treasure of the ever-loving Father he has in his life.
The Younger son WAS a rebel, it’s true. He was stupid. He was selfish, self-seeking. He had a great life, yet he chose to leave it for a different scene. He was a drunken, rebellious fool. He lived a wild, sinful, sexual life, with “friends” that only stuck around as long as the drinks and parties were coming. He was quite frankly, an idiot! And he paid a price!
Sin always comes at a cost.
But do you know what I love MOST about this story?
Once he reached rock bottom, feeding the pigs he wasn’t even allowed to TOUCH based on his Jewish upbringing, wishing he could eat with them in their slop pail….
He turned towards HOME.
He found His Father, and a safe place to fall.
So how does this apply to your broken marriage? To the spouse that has gone astray in a World of partying, sexual sin and drunkenness?
Did you notice in the story that the Father saw his son from a great distance on the road?
Do you know what that tells me?
That months and months later, he was watching with expectation, for a son he was believing in Faith, would return.
What is God asking of You?
Is He asking you to wait and watch expectantly for your Prodigal Spouse to come Home?!
To come home to YOU, to come home to his or her FAITH, to their Father in Heaven in total brokeness and repentance? To come home to grace, love and forgiveness?
Or are your arms crossed, back turned to the road? You don’t deserve to be treated like this. Your Spouse made their choice, its time to “move on”.
Think about it, don’t you think this Father was questioned by his loved ones, friends and family? Look, even his other children thought he was nuts to welcome this child home!!!
The Parable doesn’t go into these details, but you can imagine that before this part in the story it went something like this:
“DAD! What the heck are you doing out here, watching the road again????? Even when you work and do chores, I see you glancing up…..don’t you get it? He is NEVER coming back!
And you know what, even if he did, he doesn’t deserve us. You gave him everything, and look at the thanks you got…..HE LEFT YOU! Took your money and ran. He is partying it up and having a grand ol’ time. He made his choice. MOVE ON, Father! This is unhealthy!”
When our Spouses stray, the World shouts at us to move on.
No, not just the World…
Even Pastors give us the go ahead on divorce at times.
Never forget, that these people are only human, and that even good friends, can give BAD advice, with great intentions!
So I beg you, don’t sign those papers your Spouse sent your way. Don’t give them or satan the satisfaction of yielding so quickly. Instead, hit your knees and ask your Heavenly Father for your Prodigal Spouse to come home.
Believe in faith, that one day, they WILL hit rock bottom and find Jesus again.
And find you not only waiting, but watching the road SO intently, that while they are still in the distance, you spot them and shout out for the feast to begin……
Waiting with SUCH forgiveness and surrender of what is right or fair, that you can run with open arms to forgive them and start anew.
We serve a God of RESTORATION.
Total and complete!
I know, I am living it. That is Dale’s new wedding band pictured above. Read our story, here.
Why are we as the Body of Christ preaching any other message?! !
God is BIGGER than the 51% divorce rate. Are we enabling our friends with our words?
“He doesn’t deserve you….”
“You deserve better than this…..”
“Its time for you to move on….”
“She made her choice…..”
Are you the older son with hardened heart slamming the door on second chances in the name of what is “fair” or “right”?
The self-righteous Pharisee who needed this parable to remember the message of Grace and Forgiveness, of REJOICING when the lost is found?
Are you the one that strayed?
The father in this story is a picture of our Heavenly Father. The Lord waits patiently, with loving compassion to restore us when we return to Him with humble hearts. In fact, He throws a joyful celebration!!!!! He welcomes you with open arms and NEVER, EVER holds your past against you.
Are you represented best by the father that never stopped watching for love to come home?
LOVE will find its way HOME.
For His Love endures forever…..
May we be the Servant in this story, that runs with joy to prepare a Welcome Home feast for our friends broken Marriages RESTORED.
May we be the Father in this story, that never stops watching for our wayward spouse to come HOME.
And may we never, ever be like the Pharisees, or the older brother, and forget the beauty of SECOND CHANCES!
For that my friends, is the power of the Cross……
I understand some of you didn’t CHOOSE divorce, it was chosen by your spouse. Some of you didn’t have any fight left in you, so away you signed. It’s ok. Do not lose heart, there is grace and forgiveness extended; for God is a God of Restoration, total and complete. When your Marriage ended, His plan for your life did not. He still has plans to give you hope and a future!
I read a beautiful blog post on this subject the other day, and I quickly came to this scheduled post, to add these verses and thoughts by my friend, who is also named Tonya…..
I urge you…before you even consider the “D” word, please do everything possible.
For desperate situations, a legal separation may be in order.
1 Corinthians 7:5 “Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.”
1 Corinthians 7:10-11 “To the married I give this command (not I, but the Lord): A wife must not separate from her husband. But if she does, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband. And a husband must not divorce his wife…..”
Our Father’s heart hurts to see His children feel the consequences of divorce.
Follow up post:
Having An “Even If” Faith