The Prodigal Son is one of my favorite stories in the Bible! It has such truth and grace to the story. There have been multiple times where I have used this story as an example when talking to friends who have "wronged me" or "stabbed me in the back." When they came to their senses and I was nice to them even though they hurt me deep, I always tried my hardest to provide grace and forgiveness towards them.
This morning I was reading my devotional and was thinking... One of the most important things is missing in that story. Let's think about this... This is how the scripture ends: "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!'" (Luke 15:32)
Doesn't it end kind of abruptly? They just celebrate the return of the son without any question? That's not right. At least that's not what we, as humans, think we should do. The world teaches us that it's okay to celebrate, but after that, the game changes. We have to become aware of the things in our path and their path. We don't trust them and assume the worst it going to happen. I mean, how do we know that they aren't going to butter us up so they can use us again later?
The thing the story is missing is the exceptions. Jesus doesn't say, "And the Father welcomed him with open arms after he interrogated him about his past." Of course it doesn't say that! The story is incredible because of the grace, love, and unconditional faith the father has in his son. Why is this important? Because we should have the same in everyone else around us. We have this fatal flaw of choosing those that we love and giving them "limits." Why do we do this? Are we are attempting to protect ourselves from pain?
So. Here we are. We look at our lives and see plenty of people that we know have wronged us, hurt us, screwed us over... We want to get angry when we think of them or even shun them from our lives. It's easier to do that! But what happens when they come back? When you cross them in your everyday life? When they keep talking about you and being rude towards you? Do we treat them differently? In this scripture we see what the father did. When the son asked for his inheritance, the father didn't think twice. He gave it to him. Is this an example of what we are supposed to do? Does that answer all the questions that are in front of us?
The best piece of advice I have ever gotten was this: "If you don't make yourself vulnerable to the situation, you'll never know what could have happened." I honestly think that if someone would have questioned Jesus after telling this parable, that this is what he would have said. We aren't promised that we aren't going to get hurt! We are promised that God will be there for us and guide us on how to react to these situations.
Yes, we should guard our heart, but if we are really going to live this life whole-heartedly... We are going to have to give everything to the will of God and that is to love with all we have! So why is it that some people aren't okay with who we love? Why are there certain conditions to this scenario?
Yes, I have a lot of flaws and I've messed up my fair share in the past few years of my living, but I am grateful that God has given me amazing friends to help me through the tough times! Now, as for my choice of who my friends are? That is my choice. I know that some people don't approve or think that I am making a big mistake with my life, but you don't live my life. You don't get to participate in the conversations that I have with my friends. You don't live in my head all day and see what I see. You may see a misguided girl with no clue of what she is getting herself into, but I promise you that I am fully aware! The past two years have been an eye-opening experience. There have been people that have come back into my life that I would have never expected to! Is this something for you to judge? No. Why? Because as my friend, you should see that I am happy. It has taken me a long road to get here! For a long time, happiness was a hard thing for me to come by, but now it's overflowing! Let me say that one more time... I am happy!
So at the end of the day. I'm going to listen to this story as much more than "People should love me when I screw up." I'm going to understand that it is far more important for me to live in the father's footsteps and love unconditionally.
I choose love.