Do you think that there are consequences for our sin? Is it possible, for example, that health problems can be a direct result or consequence for a life of eating junk food?
I'm dealing with a rebelious kid... he's lied, then we've caught him and he's apologized. Then he's lied again. Again, we've caught him later on and he's apologized. Each time, we've gone straight back to having the arms wide open like the father in this story. But it keeps happening again and again. The kid says that he's sorry and that he's been like the prodigal son and we must forgive him because that's what God wants us to do. And forgive, I will gladly do. However, trust is another thing completely... and I'm really struggling with understanding how the "unconditional forgiveness" fits into the whole picture. Does God want us to continue to put ourselves in the position of being lied to and yelled at over and over again? Is that healthy and a part of loving people like He does?
And I'm wondering, are we projecting an attitude onto the older son that was never expressed in Scripture? I think that the older son must have seen how hurt the father had been during the time that his younger son was gone. And that must've hurt him too. And I think that there is the part in me (as the older son type) that wants to know that there is a reason that I'm following hard after God and being faithful to my family and to the things He has called me to. If living life for myself and giving into my ungodly desires has no consequence, then why shouldn't I indulge myself? See, the difference I see between the two sons is that one gave into the sinful desires and another held strong because of his faith in God and his love for his father. It's not a sin to be tempted - heck, Jesus Christ was tempted in the New Testament. What IS a sin though, is when we give in to those desires.
How do I PRACTICALLY respond to the prodigal son... especially when it's hard to tell if he's really returned? After the arms wide open and the party and the ring... what then? PLEASE HELP ME!!!