“Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth. And he said, A certain man had two sons: And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living. And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living. And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want. And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him. And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants. And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him. And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son. But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry: For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry. Now his elder son was in the field: and as he came and drew nigh to the house, he heard musick and dancing. And he called one of the servants, and asked what these things meant. And he said unto him, Thy brother is come; and thy father hath killed the fatted calf, because he hath received him safe and sound. And he was angry, and would not go in: therefore came his father out, and intreated him. And he answering said to his father, Lo, these many years do I serve thee, neither transgressed I at any time thy commandment: and yet thou never gavest me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends: But as soon as this thy son was come, which hath devoured thy living with harlots, thou hast killed for him the fatted calf. And he said unto him, Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine. It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found.” Luke 15:10-32, KJV.
How many times have we read this story and considered it? We hear sermons on it. But do we truly consider the story? I know almost every time I hear the song I put above, I consider the great love the father had for his wayward son. This son really messed up. He demanded money, left, squandered it, likely slept around, in this world’s time, would have been doing drugs, maybe had an abortion, he was a great sinner.
Yet, he came home, fell to his father’s feet and confessed his sin against him, and didn’t even want to be back in the family, just wanted food for work. But the father gave him more than that….he accepted him back in the family, gave him a celebration and loved him.
I wonder how many times we spend our days like the elder son? We judge the sinner and even when they repent, we still hold it against them. I also wonder how many prodigals think that if they slink back home without admitting their wrong, think they can get the welcome? It goes both ways. I know some people that have committed horrendous sins and yet, because they truly repent have been able to go on with their lives, but others, seem to think a simple “Yeah, I was wrong, get over it.” seems to take care of it.
What is the right way to deal with this?