To illustrate the point further, Jesus told them this story: “A man had two sons. The younger son told his father, ‘I want my share of your estate now before you die.’ So his father agreed to divide his wealth between his sons. (NLT)
The familiar story of the prodigal son is part of Jesus’ teaching about how he has come to rescue those who are lost. We can easily skate over what happens at the very beginning of the story. The younger son wanted advance payment of what was due to him. The father could have refused. The son had no right to the payment. But the father went along with it.
We can assume the father had serious doubts about the motives and purposes of his younger son. He could foresee trouble ahead. But he still gave his son the premature inheritance. He did what many parents and grandparents find themselves doing: allowing our children and grandchildren to go ahead and mess up their lives.
But what alternative is there? We cannot force others to only choose the good. We cannot usually stop someone else from taking the wrong course of action. We can only warn and resolve to not stop loving them and watching for their “homecoming” as did the father in this story.
When we consider that this father is meant to be a picture of our God, we reach the conclusion that our God gives us freedom to do right or wrong. If we stubbornly insist on taking a path to lostness and sorrow, he won’t forcibly prevent us taking it. The freedom he gives us is costly, a two edged sword, a blessing and a burden.