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Column: Hasn’t everyone been a prodigal son or daughter?

Neighbourly Advice According to the Ed: Should wayward progeny be welcomed back with open arms?
prodigal son
The pattern of a prodigal is rebellion, ruin, repentance, reconciliation and, last of all, restoration.

There was a man who had two sons; one wanted to leave. He said he’d take his inheritance and do as he pleased. The younger son got it together and journeyed away. To waste his life in riotous living.

When he had spent all, there came a famine in the land. He began to be in want, with nothing left in his hands. He went to work for a local farmer, feeding the swine, living on the husks of the world and no longer drinking wine.

When he came to himself, he said, "I'm going back home. My father's servants have enough to eat, and I am dying alone. I’ll arise and go to my father, and say unto him, 'Father I have sinned against heaven, please take me in.'"

His father saw him and rejoiced inside. Called his servants to prepare a feast. "Bring out the new wine. Let us sing, let us be merry; he's now safe and sound. My son was dead and is alive again, was lost and is found." (From More Like You, released July 11, 2016, Robert Croft and Joyce Croft)

Ed, my old neighbor, complained to me when I played this song for him. He liked how Jerry Paladino sang the song but wanted the rest of the story with the older brother's reaction to the party celebrating the return of his younger brother.

Ed said he would have behaved like the older brother. He makes the story comfortable for Ed. Should the father have welcomed his wayward son back with open arms? Did the returning son deserve a second chance? Do people ever really change? Will the younger brother stay home or take off again and again hurt his father with another leaving?

The dictionary defines a prodigal as a son or daughter who leaves their parents to do things they disapprove of but then feels sorry and returns home. The pattern of a prodigal is rebellion, ruin, repentance, reconciliation and, last of all, restoration.

In Luke 15:11-32) We see the rebellion first. The younger son was rebellious, ready to break the rule of getting his share of the estate when his father had died. He demanded his part of his father's inheritance while his father was still alive, as if his father was dead to him.

When he got his share of his father’s estate, the prodigal son went to a distant country and squandered his wealth on wild living. A famine came upon the country, and he lived by feeding pigs. He realized his life was in ruins. In repentance, he headed home, knowing he was no longer worthy of being a son, but he hoped to become his father's hired hand.

His father welcomed him home as his lost son, fully willing to forgive him and restore him as his son. His love for his son was fully undeserved and unlimited. He was delighted to give his son another chance. Not so with his older brother. Even when his father assured the elder son that everything of his would go to him, he was unwilling to extend his brother any forgiveness. In his mind, his brother did not deserve it. He could not see himself, as also a prodigal son at sometime or another.