"Lo, these many years I have been serving you; I never transgressed your commandment at any time; and yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might make merry with my friends. But as soon as this son of yours came, who has devoured your livelihood with harlots, you killed the fatted calf for him." Luke 15:30
In the story of the prodigal son, the father responds with elation at the return of his lost son; however, his other son displays the contrary; he is full of bitterness and jealousy. With obvious sibling rivalry, this son reminding his father again that he has remained faithful unlike his brother, seems somewhat disgusted by his father's unabashed excitement and joy. Despite his prudent endeavor to stay right in his father's eyes, his father seems to delight more in the return of his lost son. Is his love for this son any less? Has it ever been more?
The father's love is unmeasurable and unbelievable. He never stopped loving his lost son; he never loved his faithful son more. His love was consistent and true. It is the same with God's love for us. When we falter, He still loves us and wants us to return. When we remain true, He loves us, but not any more for our faithfulness. We cannot expect God's love to be altered based on our actions. We have not influence, no control, no affect on the amount of love God has for us.
However, it is important to note the differences in the sons. The prodigal son, despite his mistakes, is humble. He returns with sincerity and genuine remorse. He also seems to appreciate and respect his father more. He makes no demands, but he is content with whatever his father deems as appropriate and fair. The other son, though faithful on the surface, reacts with such animosity and jealousy to the father's exhiliration over his brother's return, that there seems to be an air of pride about him. He points out how much better he is than his brother and complains that his father is wrong in showing such mercy. This son is more concerned about his welfare and what is right and fair for him, that he neglects to rejoice over the fact that his father is happy and his brother is saved.
It is true, God loves us unconditionally. However, in order to enjoy His love, we must always pursue Him with the same attitude of the prodigal son. If we fail and fall, we must return with humility. If we remain in His love, we must be so lost in His love that we can never be swayed by our pride or flesh. And for all those who were once lost and have returned, we must have the same love as the Father has, and rejoice with Him and them.
Thank You for Your love. How good You are! Please help me to be humble and merciful. Never allow me to be jealous because I think You love someone else more. Let me be content with the fullness of love You always seem to lavish me with every day.