By Lynn Jones
Jesus’ classic story that we call “The Prodigal Son,” could just as easily be called, “The Resentful Son,” or “The Loving Father.” When the prodigal son came home from his sinful life in the far country with a repentant spirit, he was received and forgiven by his loving father.
He didn’t deserve this welcome and forgiveness, but neither do we. On our best day, we don’t deserve the gifts of God. A gift is not deserved, or it ceases to be a gift. We need to rejoice and be thankful for all that God has given us. This attitude of gratitude does away with the resentment that poisons our relationships with others.
In Jesus’ story, when the prodigal son came home with a repentant spirit and was forgiven by the loving father, the resentful son never uttered one single word of welcome to his long-lost brother. Instead, he was filled with resentment over his father’s welcoming his brother home.
What a tragedy! Resentment makes us miss so many of the good things in life.
Don’t nurse your resentment. It is a cruel master. Don’t become its slave. Rise above it. If you brood over your resentment, it hatches into bitterness and despair.
Act yourself into a new way of feeling. Don’t wait until you are rid of all the bad feelings before you go to the party. Go anyway, and often in the going and in the participating you will begin to gain the victory over your feelings of resentment and feeling sorry for yourself.
Allow the Spirit of God to help you do what you can never do by yourself. What all of us really need to do is catch the Father’s Spirit. If we are His sons and daughters, then we need to let His Spirit control our lives.
I heard of a son who was playing high school football. One week he asked his father to use his phone to record the action in the game so that he could watch it later.
His father agreed. The son played a great game, including making two touchdowns on long runs. He couldn’t wait to see the recording.
When he watched the recording, however, he didn’t see his touchdown runs. The recording would be clear and focused during most of the game, but when he was making his touchdown runs, his father threw his phone aside, and later all that his son could see was the underside of the bleacher, and all that he could hear was his father’s celebrating the touchdowns..
His father later apologized to his son for missing the shots of the action. His son said, “Dad, you’ve given me something better. You’ve given me a recording of your joy for me.”
We need our heavenly Father’s Spirit. Our Father’s Spirit leads us to genuine joy in our lives and in our relationships with others.
Lynn Jones is a retired pastor who lives in Oxford. He does supply preaching for churches in his area and often serves as an interim pastor. Jones is also an author, has written two books and writes a weekly newspaper column. He may be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org.