Monday, June 12, 2017

The Prodigal Son

"No one of us is less treasured or cherished of God than another. I testify that He loves each of us—insecurities, anxieties, self-image, and all."
-Elder Jeffrey R. Holland

This last week in my religion class we studied the story of the prodigal son in Luke 15:11-32. This story has always stuck with me and has always effected me differently over the years. Studying it this time I felt compassion towards the son who spent his birth on vain and frivolous things. Up to this point I had always associated myself with the feelings of the older son who feels jealously and resentment towards the younger brother who has received "the fatted calf" and his father's ring. 

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland gave a talk entitled "The Other Prodigal" where he discusses the feelings of the older brother and how we can all refrain from the tendency of comparing ourselves and ultimately trusting in God's love for us and all of His Children and how we must love and forgive them ourselves. In his talk he states:

"Feeling unappreciated and perhaps more than a little self-pity, this dutiful son—and he is wonderfully dutiful—forgets for a moment that he has never had to know filth or despair, fear or self-loathing. He forgets for a moment that every calf on the ranch is already his and so are all the robes in the closet and every ring in the drawer. He forgets for a moment that his faithfulness has been and always will be rewarded."
"No, he who has virtually everything, and who has in his hardworking, wonderful way earned it, lacks the one thing that might make him the complete man of the Lord he nearly is. He has yet to come to the compassion and mercy, the charitable breadth of vision to see that this is not a rival returning. It is his brother. As his father pled with him to see, it is one who was dead and now is alive. It is one who was lost and now is found."
"Certainly this younger brother had been a prisoner—a prisoner of sin, stupidity, and a pigsty. But the older brother lives in some confinement, too. He has, as yet, been unable to break out of the prison of himself. He is haunted by the green-eyed monster of jealousy."
How can we overcome such a tendency so common in almost everyone? For one thing, we can do as these two sons did and start making our way back to the Father. We should do so with as much haste and humility as we can summon. Along the way we can count our many blessings and we can applaud the accomplishments of others. Best of all, we can serve others, the finest exercise for the heart ever prescribed. But finally these will not be enough. When we are lost, we can “come to ourselves,” but we may not always be able to “find ourselves,” and, worlds without end, we cannot “save ourselves.” Only the Father and His Only Begotten Son can do that. Salvation is in Them only. So we pray that They will help us, that They will “come out” to meet and embrace us and bring us into the feast They have prepared.
I truly love this scriptural account because it helps us look inside of ourselves to understand what is most important. We need to trust that Heavenly Father will be the judge of all, but it is our job to love all those whom we come in contact with as our brothers and sisters. I know that God's love for us is real and unconditional and we must share that love with others.