March 25, 2009
“For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found,’ so they began to celebrate” (NIV).
Friend to Friend
Perhaps one of the most memorable and heart touching stories of grace and forgiveness is recorded in Luke chapter fifteen. It’s what we’ve come to know as the story of the Prodigal son. This young man demanded his inheritance while his father was still alive, spent it all on riotous living, and found himself dirty, destitute, and despairing. As despicable as pigs were to Jews, this young man took a job taking care of pigs and eating their food just to stay alive. Then he had an epiphany. He came to his senses.
“How many of my father’s hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death. I will set out and go back to my father and say to him, ’Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men.’ So he got up and went to his father (Luke 15:17-20).’”
And where was his father? He was panning the horizon, hoping for a sign that his boy might return home. While “he was still a long way off,” the father spotted his son on the horizon. Filled with compassion, he picked up the edges of his robe and ran. He didn’t wait for his son to come to him, grovel at his feet, and beg for forgiveness. No, as soon as the father caught a glimpse of his son, he dashed toward his boy, smothered him with kisses, and welcomed him home.
If you remember, not everyone was happy when the prodigal son returned. His big brother resented the fact that he got another chance. And you know what? There will be those who resent the fact that we get another chance as well.
“Big brother won’t mind if you come back as long as you hang your head and wear your shame. But when God has the audacity to give you a little dignity back and you dare lift your radiant face to heaven in liberated praise, big brother may be appalled! Pride can’t celebrate with a prodigal-come-home. Folks who won’t celebrate are still kidding themselves into thinking they did something right to be loved by their Father.” (Beth Moore, When Godly People do Ungodly Things, (Nashville, TN: Lifeway Press, 2003), p. 145.)
I say, let him be appalled. Nothing makes some people angrier than grace. Big brother is invited to the party too, and it’s his decision whether or not he wants to join in the celebration. I’m just glad he’s not the one in charge.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for welcoming me back home when I go astray. I don’t deserve your grace, but then, that’s what grace is…undeserved favor. Help me always to remember the log in my own eye before pointing out the speck in someone else’s. I pray that I will never, never be like the big brother who did not celebrate in his brother’s return.
In Jesus’ Name,
Now It’s Your Turn
Today, I want to focus on Big Brother.
Have you ever been like the big brother?
Have you ever resented someone being forgiven and restored?
Have you ever felt like some ought to “get what they deserve” rather than being forgiven?
These are tough questions and I love you too much not to ask them. After considering the big brother’s attitude, do you need to readjust your attitude toward any particular person in your life who has repented?
More From The Girlfriends
Today’s devotion was taken from Your Scars are Beautiful to God. Another great resource to help you see yourself as God sees you is I’m Not Good Enough…and Other Lies Women Tell Themselves. Whether you are struggling with mistakes from the past or believing lies of the enemy that tell you that you are a failure; the truth is that you are a chosen, holy, dearly loved child of God who is empowered by the Holy Spirit, indwelled by Jesus Christ, and enveloped in God. And that’s the truth.
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