The Parable of the two Sons - pt. 1
But flee youthful lusts and pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace, with the ones calling
on the Lord out of a pure heart.
(2 Timothy 2:22)
The sanctity of the home – One can infer from the choices
made by the prodigal that the father had been an effective
father. The father did not fail as a father – the son failed as a
son; but as awful as the Prodigal would become, we must
respect him for one thing and that is that he had some
understanding (albeit incomplete) in respect to the sanctity of
the home. If he had learned nothing else from the father he
had learned this, and that is that the home was sacred – it was
sacrosanct, the family name meant something. The dignity
and honor of the family realm were so instilled that when the
temptations to live out the lusts of his heart were more than
he could handle, he knew he would have to go into ‘a far
country’ to live out his fantasies. He may not have had a
deep respect for his father, the family, or their way of life; but
he was thoughtful enough to realize that he would not be able
to revel as he wished under his father’s roof. Back then,
being under a person’s roof, meant you were under his
tutelage. This is most evident from scripture, not just in how
the children were to be brought up to act in the home, but
even the treatment and actions of servants and visitors. The
laws governing Passover and so on demonstrate this.
Although it isn’t specifically cited in the parable, (because
the purpose wasn’t to explain the rearing of a child; but the
reception of the sinner); one could readily discern that while
this home was a haven and there was love in abundance –
The Prodigal Son
Gustave Doré
it did not lack discipline. There was never a question – not even a possibility, of making this haven into a
pigsty – while there was joy and merriment in the home, as demonstrated later, there would not be the open
flagrant indulgence of youthful lusts. The catering to the son’s sin preferences, the enabling of the son’s
wicked ways could only take place while the son was under his own tutelage, in a far country. To
safeguard a home in this way – this is honor, this is reverence, this is discipline, this is respect, and this is
love. The son’s failure is not the father’s; his profligacy was brought on of his own volition.
In many homes today there is a misconception that discipline and love do not relate – cannot relate; that
discipline comes out of anger and means violence that it is more related to an emotional reaction than a
mental response. This is not only reflected in family but it is infused throughout our culture, from the
schoolroom to the barracks to the penitentiary, discipline has a negative connotation.
It is as out of fashion to talk about discipline as it is to talk about sin or shame. These are archaic terms of
the patriarchal religious bourgeoisie that the enlightened progressive must reject. Modern Psychology
must eliminate the vocabulary of those who seek to limit the freedom of expression and the
independence of the individual.
This couldn’t be further from the truth. Now, some may have confused discipline with punishment and
may have acted out of anger, but this is not correction in the biblical sense. This is not even true discipline.
Discipline can mean to chastise or to punish, but always with the end being instruction to the benefit of the
chastised. It is never pure punishment, and if used correctly – discipline rarely includes physical
correction, but in the most part mental preparation.