Approving Father vs. Prodigal Son

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The father affirmed the value his son apart from the son's behavior. This is the same kind of approval we must daily show to our spouses.

Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. . . . For this son of mine was dead and is alive again. Luke 15:22-24, NIV

No doubt you know the parable of the Prodigal Son. I (David) would venture to say that it's been talked about from every pulpit and Bible classroom in the country. It goes something like this: Kid takes trust fund and blows it on wine, women, and song, and winds up in pig sty, then returns home to beg for food and employment.

The most gripping scene in this biblical account is the father waiting for his wayward son. We see the yearning on the father's face, the anxiety mixed with anticipation. Then one day, the father glances toward the road and sees his son.

Reflect for a moment on your life. Have you had any "pigsty" moments? Have there been times when you're just sure the Lord has had it with you, when you're scared that even begging His forgiveness won't help? I certainly have. There have been plenty of times when I've just flat-out blown it, badly.

Reconnect with your feelings during your "prodigal" moments: ashamed, sad, guilty, insecure, lost, anxious, and disconnected. Now picture in your mind the scene of the prodigal—you—coming home. You're coming down the road toward home. What do you see? It's your father, and he's running toward you with outstretched arms. His face is relieved, rather than strained or angry. He reaches you, embraces you, and holds you close to tell you how much he loves you. He's proud to call you his child. He's excited to see you. His love is unending and unwavering. What feelings would that prompt in you? Gratefulness? Amazement? Humility?

That, my friends, is approval—a loving father affirming the importance of the relationship with his son. The father affirmed the value of who the son was—apart from his behavior.

That is the kind of approval we must daily show our spouses.

In light of the unconditional acceptance God shows you each day, what keeps you from showing that same acceptance to your spouse?

Lord, help me to show my spouse unconditional approval, even when he or she “blows it.”

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