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The Power of Unconditional Love: A Lesson from the Prodigal’ Brother

Updated: Jun 25

By Dean P

We are almost all familiar with the parable of the prodigal son. There are three main characters in this story: the Prodigal, His Father, and The Prodigal's brother. The prodigal's brother, filled with resentment and jealousy, fails to show the same level of unconditional love that the father does. I feel there is a valuable lesson to be learned from those who choose a different path than this brother, one of forgiveness and compassion.

In the famous biblical story, the prodigal son squanders his inheritance on a life of excess and indulgence, only to find himself destitute and desperate. When he returns home, broken and ashamed, his father rushes to greet him, embracing him with open arms. However, the prodigal brother, consumed by bitterness and self-righteousness, cannot understand his father's forgiveness. He fails to mirror the father's compassion and instead harbors resentment towards his brother's return.

In contrast to the prodigal brother, there are some who would choose to embody the essence of unconditional love. If I were the brother in that story, I would run fast, and let's be real, I don't run for much, but I would here, and even faster than the father, to greet my lost brother. Trying to outrun my dad would show the urgency and intensity of the love and forgiveness within my heart, representing the willingness to put aside my personal grievances and embrace my brother without hesitation. By running fast, I would demonstrate my commitment to healing and rebuilding broken relationships, showing that love is stronger than any resentment or betrayal.

Many of us have been much like this prodigal brother, looking at those who have chosen a path of ruin and choosing to be unloving, not embracing our brethren when they come home broken and battered. Instead, what if we all choose a different path, one that transcends societal expectations and demonstrates a profound understanding of the importance of forgiveness? The ultimate goal is not to judge or seek retribution but to embrace our loved ones with open hearts.

Jesus said it best, "I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance" (Luke 15:7 KJV).

Lastly, in the parable, the prodigal’s father instructs his servants to bring a ring and a robe for his son. Again, putting myself in the brother's shoes, no servant would be the one to bring the ring and the robe. I would insist that my father let me go get it and place them on my brother.

The story of the prodigal son and his brother teaches us a timeless lesson about the power of unconditional love. Choosing to outrun my dad to greet a lost brother is a profound act of compassion and forgiveness. It is a reminder that true love transcends judgment and material possessions.

By embracing our loved ones without hesitation, we can foster healing, rebuild broken relationships, and inspire others to choose the path of love and forgiveness.

In a world often divided by anger and resentment, let us be the ones who run fast, extending our arms in love, and welcoming our lost loved ones back home.

My question to you today is, how will you and I treat modern-day prodigals? If the people of churches, recovery programs, and families don't make it so hard for people to walk out and so easy for them to return, we are failing those we love. I, for one, am sitting on the porch next to my father, watching for someone's return.

Dean P, grateful believer in Jesus Christ, striving to be more like him, and less like me.

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