“‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’” Luke 15:31-32
In Luke 15, Jesus tells three parables in an attempt to express God’s heart for lost people. In the final parable, there is a father who has two sons and divides his property between the two of them. The younger son sets off with his share and “squanders his wealth in wild living.” When his situation takes a turn for the worse, he devises a plan to return to his father and ask to be like one of his servants. However, the passage says “while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him (v. 20).”
The father was so pleased to see his son that he ran to him with a heart of joy rather than one of contempt. Overlooking his son’s sin, he told his servants to adorn the son with the best robe, a ring on his finger, and sandals on his feet. The father then celebrated his son’s return with a feast. The older brother, however, became enraged by this and refused to take part in the celebration. He considered himself more righteous than his brother who had gone off and squandered his father’s money. He believed himself more deserving of celebration, as he had been obedient, while his brother had lived contrarily.
The story ends with no real resolve, however, it can be said that we are either one of the two brothers in this story. We are either the brother who wasted and misused the father’s money, only to return with repentant hearts and be welcomed into the father’s arms again. Alternatively, we are the brother who wasted the father’s love and despised his brother’s sin rather than rejoicing over his brother’s repentance. We have a choice to make about how we are going to treat broken people. We get to finish the story. Are we going to have patience with the lost and make room for lost people to find their way? Or are we going to judge them, when we are just as lost as they are?
If you’re lost, let your father wrap His arms around you and bring you back home today. You are His child and He loves you so much. No matter which of the two brothers you may identify with, you don’t have to be lost.