I just spent an amazing weekend on top of a mountain with a group of brothers, growing in faith, and speaking, in part, about the Prodigal Son. AMAZING story of love and discernment. So, how is it that when I looked at the blog’s writing calendar, I have Luke 15 as part of my reading? Coincidence? Actually, I prefer to call it a God-incidence! I suspect God wants me in this reading for a very specific reason… no, I know why… it’s because I see myself in this reading… with the exception of having my name in print, this passage is so me. So what is it that has me coming back to this passage again after just 24 hours after returning from an intensive spiritual weekend with 19 other amazing men?
For those who know me, I love my girls… very much. I know that if I ever had open-heart surgery, the surgeon would see the names of my daughters branded into each side of my heart. I suspect I’m not the only one reading this post who doesn’t feel the same way… “my children are my heart.” And, of course, because we do so much for them, we’ll never get disappointed by them because they recognize all we do for them and would never turn against us, right? End of post… well… maybe not. Sounds like a neat idea, but it’s hardly accurate. My girls have disappointed me more than I choose to count, but I still love them unconditionally… always. Every time I see their number come up on my cell phone, I answer it… no matter what! How could I not… I love them… unconditionally. And when they share another problem that they need help working out, I listen to them and offer advice as my opinion. How could I not… I love them… unconditionally. You see, I never turn them away… that isn’t what unconditional love does… it should always be there, ready to be extended when, not if, the time comes when my girls return to me as their father. However… I must confess… my response time seems, at times, to be related to their offense. While my underlying love is always there, my ‘forgiveness response time’ seemed to lag longer than it should. And, what’s worse, is that my ‘forgiveness response time’ lags even more when the offense is rendered by someone outside of my family. This is exposing a side of myself that I don’t like… if we’re called to live our lives as Jesus did, I’ve got some work to do… I suspect this is why I’m back to reading, and now writing, about this passage of scripture!
What our Heavenly Father offers us is very different… listen to what Jesus states in His parable expressed in Luke 15:17… “When he came to his senses” referring to the younger son finally realizing what he had done wrong, he returned to the father to seek forgiveness. The love that the father quickly extended to the younger son was that of royalty, immediately, with no record of the wrong-doing, just complete and unconditional. In a similar way, our Heavenly Father extends that same grace and unconditional love whenever His earthly children fall away, come to their senses, and return to Him. Our God offers us such underserved grace that should serve as a model for us to aspire to. Life is not perfect… mistakes will and are made, and when they do, it’s important to take accountability for those mistakes, just as the younger son did in the parable. Forgiveness, should be offered freely and quickly so the offended and offender can move forward, in peace.
Heavenly Father… I pray that we find the ‘blinders’ that help us to remain focused on You always… that we seek You in ALL things, especially in the area of grace and forgiveness. During this Holy time of year, help us to reduce the ‘forgiveness response time’ to zero by focusing on the ultimate sacrifice Your Son made to save us all. Amen.
gstefanelli (Greg Stefanelli)