Luke 15:31 ‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours…”
Well, the story of the prodigal son (PS) is told about PS leaving home a while ago with his portion of his father’s inheritance and lived a messed up life. Yet, his father celebrated his return when he repented and decided that being home was better than being in the world.
While PS’s return was supposed to be a good thing, his brother did not see it that way. And we can understand why – their father probably had big plans to grow the family business and PS’s brother was heavily involved in it. However, while there was no form of recognition for his brother, PS had a celebration thrown for him despite his mess-ups.
This gives us a snapshot of the human nature which have been proven by behavioural studies: we value recognition and are often unhappy when we perceive that others have a better deal than us.
PS’s father’s reply is one that we need to catch God the Father’s heart on: His presence (‘you are always with me’) and possessions (‘everything I have is yours’) belong to those who remain in Him. In His equation, shortchanging His children never exists. Instead, we can look forward to relationship and abundance.
Indeed, managing perceptions in our vertical relationship (with God) and horizontal relationships (with others) is crucial in helping us live successful and godly lives for His glory.