Feeling footloose and frisky, a feather-brained fellow forced his father
to fork over his farthings. Fast he flew to foreign fields and
frittered his family’s fortune, feasting fabulously with floozies and
faithless friends. Flooded with flattery he financed a full-fledged
fling of "funny foam" and fast food.
Fleeced by his fellows in folly, facing famine, and feeling faintly
fuzzy, he found himself a feed-flinger in a filthy foreign farmyard.
Feeling frail and fairly famished, he fain would have filled his frame
with foraged food from the fodder fragments.
"Fooey," he figured, "my father’s flunkies fare far fancier," the
frazzled fugitive fumed feverishly, facing the facts. Finally,
frustrated from failure and filled with foreboding (but following his
feelings) he fled from the filthy foreign farmyard.
Faraway, the father focused on the fretful familiar form in the field
and flew to him and fondly flung his forearms around the fatigued
fugitive. Falling at his father’s feet, the fugitive floundered
forlornly, "Father, I have flunked and fruitlessly forfeited family
Finally, the faithful Father, forbidding and forestalling further
flinching, frantically flagged the flunkies to fetch forth the finest
fatling and fix a feast.
Faithfully, the father’s first-born was in a fertile field fixing fences
while father and fugitive were feeling festive. The foreman felt
fantastic as he flashed the fortunate news of a familiar family face
that had forsaken fatal foolishness. Forty-four feet from the farmhouse
the first-born found a farmhand fixing a fatling.
Frowning and finding fault, he found father and fumed, "Floozies and
foam from frittered family funds and you fix a feast following the
fugitive’s folderol"? The first-born’s fury flashed, but fussing was
futile. The frugal first-born felt it was fitting to feel "favored" for
his faithfulness and fidelity to family, father, and farm. In foolhardy
fashion, he faulted the father for failing to furnish a fatling and
feast for his friends. His folly was not in feeling fit for feast and
fatling for friends; rather his flaw was in his feeling about the
fairness of the
festival for the found fugitive.
His fundamental fallacy was a fixation on favoritism, not forgiveness.
Any focus on feeling "favored" will fester and friction will force the
frayed facade to fall. Frankly, the father felt the frigid first-born’s
frugality of forgiveness was formidable and frightful. But the father’s
former faithful fortitude and fearless forbearance to forgive both
The farsighted father figured, "Such fidelity is fine, but what forbids
fervent festivity for the fugitive that is found? Unfurl the flags and
finery, let fun and frolic freely flow. Former failure is forgotten,
folly is forsaken. Forgiveness forms the foundation for future
Four facets of the father’s fathomless fondness for faltering fugitives
2) Forever faithful friendship
3) Fadeless love, and
4) A facility for forgetting flaws
by Timothy E. Fulop
Timothy E. Fulop is Assistant Dean of Faculty, Columbia Theological Seminary
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