Saturday March 18, 2017 Compassion

So, he got up and went back to his father. While he was still a long way off, his father caught sight of him, and was filled with compassion. He ran to his son, embraced him and kissed him. Luke 15:20

I heard a Scripture Scholar share about this parable.  This was apparently an often-told story in ancient Israel.  It was used to train up younger sons as a cautionary tale and in the original version, the father did not welcome back the errant younger son.  He spits on him and sends him away.  Jesus version then was a stunner!  He added the interaction with the older brother to expand the lesson.  Jesus always used the familiar to teach the profound and this case, was not different.  Both sons only viewed their father as an ATM.  He provided for their needs and that was all!  The Father in Jesus story is His Father, who is so much more than a dispensary.

As I look at my own relationship with God, my Father, there are many times when I approach His throne like that heavenly ATM.  I want things to happen and pray for this healing, that life change or some favor.  How foolishly short-sighted I am.  God knows all, so my asking is redundant at the least and presumptuous at the most.  But Jesus also taught us to pray and to ask.  What then should I be praying for???  THY WILL BE DONE!

God is the compassionate Father!  The parable is titled the Prodigal Son, but the real story is the father.  This dad does the unlikely, the loving and the generous thing.  He runs and embraces this errant child.  He throws a party and cajoles the older brother to forgive and forget.  He epitomizes compassion in every way.  He does not harbor a grudge or demonstrate how hurt he must have been that this on of his left him.    He was certainly entitled to be angry and hurt.  I ask myself, how would I respond if I was in his shoes!  What would I do if my daughters treated me this way?

As Paul Harvey used to say… I would love to know the rest of the story.  Did the younger son change and become dutiful or did he quickly regress once his belly was full?  Did the older son open his heart and become as compassionate as his dad?  Will I be changed by this story?

Lord, Help me put on compassion!  Help me approach those who hurt me with a mantle of forgiveness and welcoming.  Allow me to grow each day to be more like YOU! 

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