Embracing the prodigal in your life may come with struggles. You prayed for years for their homecoming, but now that they have turned back to the Lord, are you struggling to fully embrace their new life once more? You aren’t alone. There are a few things to take away from Luke 15 and The Parable of the Prodigal Son. The Older Son’s feelings, and his subsequent response to them teach us about this struggle.
Feelings Make Awful Leaders
Emotions are not objectively wrong. They are messages to tell us how our hearts are doing. Be careful to assess the emotions that arise in your heart, but not be led by them. In the story, the older son’s emotional response prevented him from celebrating the return of his brother.
“But he was angry and refused to go in” (Luke 15:28)
Subsequently, he could not acknowledge the goodness of his father and the joy of their families reunion with one another. Unable to embrace the prodigal brother, the older brother’s feelings blinded him to the blessing in front of him. He missed the feast! Beautifully, his dad reminds him of the reality of the blessing he always was able to take part in:
“And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. It was fitting to celebrate and be glad, for this your brother was dead, and is alive; he was lost, and is found.“(Luke 15:31-32)
Don’t Miss the Party: Embracing the Prodigal
God invented joy. It’s a fruit of His nearness to us. When prodigals return home, the Father makes space to celebrate his found sheep. He does not take lightly our decision to come back to Him. As you anticipate the return of a prodigal in your own life, prepare your heart. Ask yourself how it could be difficult and take the time to process what comes up for you. Great celebration is in store for those who take their eyes off themselves, and put them on the nature of how good of a father God is. Remember: all that is for your brother and sister in Christ is also for you. God’s goodness is for you as much as the next person. Lead your heart well by not letting your feelings dictate your actions.