Luke 15:1 Then Jesus said, “There was a man who had two sons. 12 The younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of the property that will belong to me.’ So he divided his property between them. 13 A few days later the younger son gathered all he had and traveled to a distant country, and there he squandered his property in dissolute living. 14 When he had spent everything, a severe famine took place throughout that country, and he began to be in need…17 But when he came to himself he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired hands have bread enough and to spare, but here I am dying of hunger! 18 I will get up and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; treat me like one of your hired hands.” ’ 20 So he set off and went to his father. But while he was still far off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion; he ran and put his arms around him and kissed him…
Many of us can relate to the son in this story who leaves and squanders his inheritance. There are many times in life when I’ve walked away from God the Father in ways large and small, only to realize that life separated from God is a bad place to be. Each time this happens, the Lord is ready to take me back. His mercy and compassion are astounding really.
Yet more recently I find myself connecting with the father in the story. Instead of denying the younger son his chance to make a big mistake, the father relents – knowing it will not likely end well. It doesn’t.
One of my brothers and I were chatting last weekend. He was telling me how hard it is to watch his teenaged children walk down paths that he knows will likely end badly. Don’t I know it. I’m guessing some of you reading this blog know it too. On one hand we want to intervene and protect our children. On the other hand, we need to step back and give them space to make decisions for themselves. And accept the consequences. However painful.
Today I’m reflecting on the father in this story. His son wandered off and made some big mistakes. But he did finally come to his senses and return home. And when he did, the father didn’t gloat or wag his finger in his son’s face. He welcomed him back unconditionally.
Lord, give us grace to do likewise. Amen.