I have lost count of the many time I have heard or read the story of the prodigal son. And I must admit there are quite a number of times, I end up feeling like the dutiful son. I would fault the father for fawning over the prodigal son. Like the dutiful son, I feel offended that the prodigal son is treated so royally by the father. At the very least, there should have been some punishment or “making up” on the part of the scoundrel son.
In my own life, I have behaved both like the dutiful son and the prodigal son. As the dutiful son, I do feel the feelings of unfairness from the father. As a prodigal son, I want the tender mercies of the father. And to be honest, I have behaved more often like the prodigal rather than the dutiful son. And I know I deserve justice more than mercy from the father.
A good friend sent me this reminder this morning: “God has already taken into account the wrong turns, the mistakes in your life. Quit beating yourself up and accept His tender mercy.” And if I look back, it has indeed been the story of my life. I live more out of the love and mercy of God, rather than from his justice and justification. For if indeed God meted out what is truly die to us, who would survive?