Forgiveness

“…for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found…” LUKE 15:24

Some of you know I am a huge fan of Max Lucado, I am reading one of his older books called “The Great House of God” In the first chapter he is letting us know what God wants us to do and that is live in His house with him, as the first chapter goes on he talks about a painting hanging above the mantle. Immediately I think it has to be of his son Jesus Christ but to my surprise it is a painting of “The Prodigal Son”. He goes on in the chapter and states why this is God’s favorite painting if you have read the parable of “The Prodigal Son” you would know why. The father’s son was lost but now he is found. But I think a lot of people truly miss the point of this story what really makes it so powerful and hits home with so many parents, including our Father in heaven. Let me explain, the scene in the Bible is profound the boy is coming up over a hill and his father is staring in that direction awaiting his sons return. Much to the sons surprise the father is happy to see him. The son begs for forgiveness and tells his well-rehearsed speech.

Then the father tells the servants go kill the fatted calf we will celebrate give him some clean clothes and put sandals on his feet! His son was lost and now he is found! Great story huh? We are all suckers for a happy ending and this is one that is truly happy. This is the way God has taught us, the sad thing is this is not the ending in so many of our lives. We are not forgiven by the ones we love and we are constantly reminder of our sins and our past. In the Prodigal Son though what is the point that makes it “truly happy” that many is missing and not living? Even the fathers other son in this story missed the point because he was angry that his father was celebrating his brothers return. After all he was the good son he did everything his father asked and never complained he did not blow his inheritance and go and live in filth! Never once did he kill a fatted calf for him and his friends to celebrate.

The point of the story is really many and if we listen closely to our Lord we can find ourselves in this story whether we are the lost son or the one still at home. The main point though is that the son realized what he did, he learned a valuable lesson, he was willing to come back to live in his family as a servant and a lowly person. What is the main point Shannon you are asking? The most important lesson to be learned in this story is he asked for forgiveness. He was willing to accept whatever his father gave him. He just wanted to come home and that is exactly how God is with us and that is no matter what we have done he is there waiting for you, all you have to do is ask. The difference between man and God is he will not give you a lowly position for your wrong, God will give you the highest seat in His Kingdom for admitting, confessing, and seeking him for forgiveness. Jesus taught his disciples about forgiveness many times. “Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?’ “Jesus answered, I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times'” (Mt 18:21-22).

Jesus was not saying this is to give us a limit and after seventy seven times you say “that is it” and after that you have no more free passes for someone. Think about it…what if God kept a list and when we hit seventy seven He is done with us? He would pretty much be done with the entire world by now huh? So you have no excuse for telling someone, “Okay, that’s seventy-six times. You only have one more to go, so watch out!” He was using numbers to make a contrast that is easy for us to remember. Love “keeps no record of wrongs,” so a tally of someone’s offenses is out of the question (1 Cor 13:5). In a sense, when you forgive everything someone has done to you, their next offense is the first, so you never have more than one to forgive.

How does Jesus forgive us? We ask for forgiveness we pray for it, recognize our sins, and wrong doings in our lives. Then Jesus can plea to the Father on our behalf. Through His blood every day as Christians we are washed in it made pure for what He has done the sacrifices he made. May we all be like “The Prodigal Son” when we are wrong, ask for forgiveness, and may we all as parents be like the father in this story and reflect our Father in heaven, REJOICE! For we were all lost but now we are found!

Amen.
Shannon Wendler