In actuality, both sons were loved. The younger son was foolish and self-centered. However, when he indulged his own self-interests, he learned a hard lesson about his fortune and his father. He meekly returned home realizing that his father had provided so much he hadn't recognized in his immature state.
The older son reacted to his return in self-righteous anger. He couldn't understand why all the hoopla and celebration was focused on his younger brother. This older brother also had a lesson to learn and at the root of it was the love of the father towards him. It wasn't his doing everything right that endeared him to the father; it was his sonship.
31 And he said unto him, Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine.32 It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found. Luke 11:32Both sons had focused on themselves, both eventually learned how much their father loved them. All of us, at different times in our lives, have lived out life similar to both sons. All of us can probably relate to both sons. We may swing to one side of the pendulum and then to the other. The point of this story is the incredible love of the father toward his sons.
The father couldn't do much but pray for the younger son while he was out there in crazy land. When that son came to his realize the grass was not greener out in 'lala' land, the father's heart just burst with thanksgiving upon his return home.
The father could do much more for the son that stayed, but that son hadn't realized it and therefore he too had some maturing to do in recognizing the grace in his life.
Sometimes at junctures in our lives we need to ask ourselves, which son looks like me? I can relate to both sons as I look back through the years. The greatest lesson of all about God is to realize and recognize the love that the Father has toward each of us. The greatest problems involve not seeing the love. Looking at the life of Jesus Christ grounds us in the recognition of God's love and true righteousness.