miércoles 29 noviembre, 2023

Living the Goodness of the Father

There was a lot of turmoil when his younger bother left home. It was completely unexpected and baffling at the same time because no one suspected that the youngest in the house would make such a decision. Not only did he leave home to seek out his own vision and future, but he also took his part of the inheritance. Even though the older brother saw his father peaceful, he didn´t have the nerve to bring up the subject with him. He knew that his father had to of felt this situation deep down in his heart, but not once had his father spoken a negative or critical comment about his brother. After a time everything seemed to be back to normal. The older brother assumed his role in his father´s house and they labored together in projects and work.

The older brother admired his father a lot. He was a strong man, wise and so mild. He always had a solution for the situations that would arise and when conflicts arose between the servants, his father had an amazing ability to resolve them. Every once in awhile the older brother would think about his brother but it was something of the past. When he remembered that day he felt angry so he tried not to think about it much. But he knew that his father thought about his brother everyday. Sometimes his father was in the field and he would look toward the horizon to see if someone was coming on the long road toward home. One day he found him standing on the balcony of his bedroom looking afar off. He didn´t know if he should interrupt or not but his father had heard him come in. Embarrassed about the possibility of seeing his father´s face sad, he was surprised when his father turned around and his face was glowing. It was a face of unexplainable peace and his smile imparted an immeasurable assurance. “How can this be?” the older brother thought. “I know he´s thinking of his son, who left and didn´t think of anyone other than himself. I don´t understand such a profound love” the older brother reflected.

One day on the way back from the field he heard music afar off. “What´s that?” he thought, speeding up his pace. “There are no birthday´s, there aren’t any weddings,” he thought, contemplating with a little sarcasm, “at least not mine”, and he let out a laugh. “Maybe some important visitors arrived”, he mused but before he could continue with his questioning thoughts, one of the servants came running out yelling, “He´s back! He´s back! We have to celebrate! Isn´t it wonderful? He´s back!” Before he could find out who was back, the servant was off running, saying, “I have to check on the barbecue”. He was already quite intrigued but that soon turned into unrest and anxiety. “Don´t tell me that…” but before he could finish his thought the administrator came out with great joy and a huge smile saying, “Your brother is home! As he approached him to give him a hug, the older brother confused and angry avoided the hug and approached to look in through the door. There was joy, celebration, hugs and laughter. He turned this attention toward the side of the room and there he was seated, his younger brother, the one that had despised his father, that had embarrassed his family and spent his inheritance. The older brother did not know how to react. So many thoughts and feelings overwhelmed his being that he couldn´t even function. “What is happening?” he thought. “I have been here all this time, working, accompanying my father, helping with projects, attending his desires and caring for the work of the family business…and never a party; never a celebration so joyful; never any special recognition toward me. And this one, just because one fine day he decides to come back after failing, because he doesn´t have anymore money…and they treat him like a king?” The older brother had a mixture of anger, resentment, despite and even fear. He feared becoming angry with his father but at the same time he was angry with him for what he perceived as unfair. He feared the relationship with his father: “if my father is so happy and affectionate with “this one”, where does that leave me in this relationship?” he thought. Lies of insignificance on behalf of his father started to invade his being together with the demands of a son that does not comprehend the love of a father. He wanted to punch that traitor in the face, to escape and never come back but at the same time there was a profound heartache that had him at the edge of weeping. “What´s happening to me? Why do I feel this way with my father and my brother?”

You probably recognize this story taken from the passage that is commonly known as the “the prodigal son” in Luke 15. I prefer to refer to it as the parable of the “the extravagant love of the Father”.  Because this story reveals how much love God has for his children even when we miss it, fail and make bad decisions that end up not only affecting ourselves, but the family too. The love of the Father is always intact and there will always be an expression of his love when a son returns home in an attitude of humility to be restored. With that, I am not saying that God can erase all of the consequences of our bad decisions, that is part of the package that comes with our free will, to have to deal with the results that we create with our decisions or our lack of them. I´m referring to the fact that the Father helps us in the consequences that affect our relationship with Him and with ourselves: because as far as God is concerned, there is never even a shadow of change concerning his love toward us.

The subject to consider here is the perception of the sons that are in the house and of those that come back home. Because living the goodness of the father is directly in proportion to your perception of Father God’s love. In this story, the two sons show very limited perceptions of their father and from the narrow image of their reality; both of the sons were restricted in attitude, relationship and decision-making.

Let’s consider the perception of the son at home. All of his physicals needs were met, he admired his father and he faithfully occupied himself in his responsibilities, however he did not enjoy the goodness of the father. A confident relationship in the love of the Father allows us to deepen our life experience in His goodness.

Why was the older brother unable to enjoy the freedom in the relationship with a father who was loving, generous and abundant in every detail with his children? Was he trying to win the love of his father when it had already been totally poured out in and upon his life? Was he expecting his father to give him what he should have taken in confidence? Many children of God expect God to do what they should do and for him to give them what they as children have the right to take from what the Father has provided. It has to do with relationship of complete confidence, a relationship of mutual freedom and enjoyment.

Like the older brother, many children of God find themselves uncertain in their relationship with Father God. Fears, anxiety, mistrust and competition with their brothers does not allow them to enjoy the truth of God about themselves. Feelings of insignificance and inferiority dominate them, rather than the truth of Father God who cannot lie.

God loves us totally and completely, without any possibility of wanting to change his love, or his “view” or his good will toward us. Father God is totally convinced concerning our value, our ability, our significance and destiny. Living the goodness of the Father is directly proportional to your trust and confidence in the love of God towards you. Can you determine to have such a conviction in your inner man and tune into to the heart of the Father, in order to transcend to newer dimensions of living the goodness of the Father?




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