The Father’s Wisdom
James says that “the wisdom from above is first pure, then peace-loving, gentle, compliant, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without pretense” (James 3:17). When Jesus told the “Parable of the Lost Son” he gave a beautiful example of a man who demonstrated the “wisdom from above.”
You may find the original Parable in Luke 15:11-32.
Read on to see how the father reflected God’s wisdom in every way.
- Pure: The father acted in purity when he welcomed his younger son back. He could have acted like the world and demanded repayment, but he was willing to take a financial loss to have his son back. He was even willing to overlook the impurity of his younger son, providing him with a fresh start.
- Peace-loving: The father’s greatest desire was peace. Instead of harshly disciplining his younger son, possibly driving a wedge between them, he welcomed him back and said, “let’s celebrate with a feast” (Luke 15:23). When the older son refused to join the feast, the father, “came out and pleaded with him” (Luke 15:28). He wanted the older son to enjoy the peace of reconciliation and mercy, too.
- Gentle: The father had every “right” to discipline and disown his younger son. Instead, he gently welcomed him back. The father could have gotten upset with his older son for refusing to join the celebration, but he gently pleaded with him instead.
- Compliant: The father was quick to forgive and welcome back his younger son. Reason and culture would have encouraged him to treat his younger son severely, but he was willing to comply with “the wisdom from above” (James 3:17) and pursue reconciliation.
- Full of mercy and good fruits: When the father saw his younger son returning, he “was filled with compassion. He ran, threw his arms around his neck, and kissed him” (Luke 15:20). When his older son behaved inappropriately, he reminded him, “you are always with me, and everything I have is yours” (Luke 15:31). Instead of rebuking his older son, he showed him mercy, too.
- Unwavering: The father made a split-second decision to welcome his younger son back. When his older son challenged this decision, he did not waver. Instead, he reminded his older son that it was right “to celebrate and rejoice” (Luke 15:32). It is implied that he continued to invite his older son to join the feast. Additionally, the father did not show partiality. He had given his younger son his portion of the inheritance and reminded his older son that “everything I have is yours” (Luke 15:31).
- Without pretense: The father did not welcome his younger son back with any ulterior motive. He was just glad to know he was alive and well, that his son who “was dead… is alive again; [who] was lost… is found” (Luke 15:32).
Do you reflect the “wisdom from above,” in your thoughts, words, and actions, like the father in this story?