Here’s the brilliant Wendy Francisco on the Prodigal Son story:
“The story of the prodigal son is one of the most wonderful things on the planet. It asks us to have a little faith in humanity, and to think again if we feel our job is to judge and exclude. The dad knowingly provided funds for his son. His son left and the dad did not follow. When the son came back, the dad still said nothing about anything that happened. Some argue that the dad said nothing because the son had repented and come home, but they miss the point that while the son was out sowing his wild oats, the father was silent and un-intrusive.
“And then there was that other son. Are we that other son? The stay at home son wanted to exclude his brother from the blessing of his father. He was the one who cited all his brother’s faults and failures. He was kind of a hurtful jerk. And HE was the one whom the father gently corrected, for the purpose of uniting him with his wild brother (who he was probably jealous of). (In fact I like to joke that the stay at home son was probably why his brother left).
“This is a story that approaches life as if God is able to know and be God to everyone He created, without the interference of the stay at home son. It never crossed the father’s mind to reject either of his sons.
“The son who went out experienced all on his own, the poverty and shallowness of the world, and he was hurt by it to near starvation. Had the big mouth brother followed him pointing his finger as so many Christians do today, perhaps he would never have come back.
“The mistake we make is thinking that the Father is like the stay at home son. We are indoctrinated to think this, but nothing could be further from the truth.
“If the stay at home son had rejected his father’s words and summoned all the servants and proclaimed, “Whoever supports my prodigal brother and attends his party cannot stay in this household”, then that would have been the perfect mirror of the Nashville Statement article ten, a heartbreaking and terrible call to organized rejection and scapegoating. No wonder Jesus called the religious leaders of His day ravenous wolves.
“People are saying that we believe anything goes. Yes and no. When the Father handed his prodigal the funds to leave, it was anything goes. But when the people pleasing brother judged him, it was NOT anything goes.
“All of us are… both… brothers”.