by Dr. Charles Stanley
Sunday June 4, 2006
Our Forgiving Father
Perhaps you’ve never noticed a few telling nuances in the parable of the prodigal son.
The wayward son had a true change of heart and decided that being a hired servant for his father was better than living in the hogpen of sin. When the wayward son was approaching, the father could see him from afar. The father ran, embraced him, and kissed him.
Here is a son badly stained from sin. He had just left the filthy job of feeding swine, one of the worst possible assignments for a Jewish lad. He had no change of clothes, nowhere to bathe. But the father saw him coming and ran to him. In the culture of Jesus’ day, it was beneath the dignity of Jewish men to be seen running in public. But in Jesus’ parable, He indicates that this is just how our heavenly Father responds when believers return from their trysts with sin.
He embraced his son despite his filth and stench. He kissed the boy, which was a sign of forgiveness.
Notice what is missing at this point. The father’s silence is deafening. While the son begins asking forgiveness and apologizing, the father is hugging and kissing him affectionately. There is no condemnation from the father, who had forgiven the son long ago and was patiently waiting, arms open wide, for his loved one’s return. So, too, does our heavenly Father await with forgiveness and love all who stray from Him.
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