By Effie Rolfe
It’s a heart thing. “Man looks on the outward appearance but God looks at the heart” is found in 1 Samuel 16:7 and it is a favorite scripture that has often been quoted. Another passage that helps to examine the heart is the prodigal’s son in Luke 15:11-32. As the parable goes, the younger son wanted to skip the process. He wanted to fast-forward the normal procedure and demanded that his father bequeath his inheritance immediately. Although, this was not the norm then or now, the father willingly acquiesced to his son’s wishes allowing the youngster to have his fair share. Just as God has a perfect plan for each of us, nevertheless, he will not force his love on anyone. You must willingly receive. As the story continues, after living a loose life and squandering his money, the naïve and spoiled brat lost his money quicker than a lottery winner.
Eventually, he came to his senses, return home, beg his father for forgiveness and hopefully live as one of his hired servants. When he got to his father’s house, before he could speak, his father saw him afar out and ran to receive him. What unconditional love. Even when we intentionally mess up and act crazy, God’s love never fails. Luke 15:2-24 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. 23 And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. 24 For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to celebrate.’ Regardless of the insult of asking for his inheritance, the tremendous shame he caused his family by his worldly lifestyle—the father looked beyond his son’s selfish, disgraceful and immature behavior to extend genuine love and rejoicing.
Faults are like headlights—you always see someone else’s first. It’s so easy for us to point the finger. Unfortunately, most of us forget that whether seen or unseen—you—me—we and I have issues. No one is perfect. “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one (Romans 3:10). Even the eldest son had a fit and was disgusted by both his father and younger brother’s (the prodigal son’s) actions. Tradition was for the eldest to receive the inheritance first. Also, he couldn’t understand why his father was so quick to go beyond the call of duty to embrace his younger brother after he had willfully brought shame to the family. The father spoke to the older brother and said, “…Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. It was fitting to celebrate and be glad, for this your brother was dead, and is alive; he was lost, and is found (Luke 15:11-32).”
The real joy in discussing this passage of scripture is God genuinely loves and delights in us in spite of our selfishness, mistakes and outright rebellion. In fact, He adores and honors the household of faith by giving us abundant life and the desires of our heart. Because God is a gentleman, you must receive His love willingly. He doesn’t even require you to earn forgiveness because it’s free. It’s a blessing to know that our Heavenly Father loves you and me without compromise. Now this is what we call free love. Although, there are consequences to disobedience—in the end, God’s love remains. Thus, I have no need to be envious, jealous, judgmental or unmerciful about your missteps and actions nor you of mine. God longs for us to be in His presence. Once we realize it, there is nothing God won’t do to make it your reality. God’s grace and love paid for our disgrace. We can trust him to have mercy on our misery. He only asks that you too allow love to flow unconditionally within your heart.
What’s in your heart…?
© Effie Rolfe is an Author of “Supersize Your Thinking”, Media Personality and Motivational Speaker. You can contact her on twitter.com/effiedrolfe Listen to her show daily from 10am to 1pm on UrbanPraiseRadio.org (2015 Stellar Award Winner for Best Internet Radio Station)