Jesus said to the chief priests and elders of the people:
“What is your opinion?
A man had two sons.
He came to the first and said,
‘Son, go out and work in the vineyard today.’
He said in reply, ‘I will not, ‘
but afterwards changed his mind and went.
The man came to the other son and gave the same order.
He said in reply, ‘Yes, sir, ‘but did not go.
Which of the two did his father’s will?”
They answered, “The first.”
We have four children. When our eldest was a teen, he was very troubled, angry, and difficult to live with. When asking him to do anything it was struggle. He was always honest in his dislike of any chore we would ask him to do, but he always did them, maybe because we gave him no other choice.
As a mom I was often frustrated by our eldest. He did everything he could to make it very clear he didn’t care what he was being told to do, he just wanted to do what he wanted. It was as if he was goading us to argue with him. It wasn’t going to happen. If he wanted us to yell at him like many of his friends parents did, yelling at their troubled sons of all they frustration and anger, that wasn’t going to happen either.
I often told mom friends of mine that I had a mouth full of blood from biting my tongue. I knew at the heat of the moment if I really open my mouth and said what was on my mind, it would destroy my relationship with my son. That was not what I wanted.
In the Gospel passage we don’t read that the Father, (God) yells at the son, (us). It doesn’t even say what tone of voice the Father uses to address the son. There is no indication that he was anger or frustrated with the son, from what we can gather the tone at best must have been neutral.
God does not fall into the trap of becoming part of the first son’s refusal. He, God, just assumes the son will do it and the son does.
Now the second son is even more frustrating to deal with. To get his Father off his back the second son says yes, but does not comply. The second either is willing to do but forgot, fine that’s fair. Or this boy lied from the started which would make for some heavy duty trust issue between Father and second son. At least with the first son you knew where you stood, with the second it is all a guessing game.
So the question is: Do you want yes men who are truly lying, or troubled men who at least let you know where you stand and therefore be able to work on the relationship, me I want to know.