Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons. The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them. Luke 15:11-12
There are three main characters in Jesus’ story of the prodigal in Luke 15: the father, the younger son and the older son. Each of them represent a different perspective on common human behavior, and I suspect each of us can relate best to each of them at different times of our lives. Sometimes we are the one betrayed (like the father), sometimes we are the rebellious one (the younger son) and sometimes we are the one crying out for justice (the older son). But in every case, Jesus told the story to demonstrate one simple truth: the way back to a right relationship. And that, it seems to me, can be the most confusing path of all. I am so glad for what Jesus’ story shows us about how to return to a right relationship, once we have determined to do so.
Seasons of Rebellion. We all have some connection to the prodigal himself, because we have all made decisions which we knew (even at the time we made them) were disobedient to God. We knew His desire for us and we simply went in a different direction. It was (and is) rebellion, plain and simple. Sometimes it is a short season followed by an immediate “what was I thinking?” head-slap. But sometimes it is a prolonged season when we withhold from His Lordship some particular slice of our life which we just are not willing to submit to Him. Either way, it is rebellion. And the way back from any rebellion is, quite simply, confession. You will not find a more perfect confession in …
“The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ Luke 15:21
“A stiff apology is a second insult… The injured party does not want to be compensated because he has been wronged; he wants to be healed because he has been hurt.” G.K. Chesterson
I have a pretty tough apology to make this week. I will confess to you that I do not want to have to do it. The more I think about it, the more my sinful mind begins thinking other thoughts…alternative thoughts…thoughts of deflecting the fault to someone else, or even of feigning my own “hurt” from the situation in an attempt to distract from my fault. Do you ever have those kinds of conversations in your head?
My Dad called it “Loser’s Limp”. I was about 10 years old. I was the second-string quarterback of the Bellaire Panthers Pop Warner football team. I was running plays with the second-string offense against our very formidable first-string defense. I called a simple running play in the huddle, came to the line, called for the snap, and proceeded to turn the wrong direction to hand-off the ball. It was a busted play and I got smeared all over the field by our entire defense. I was the last to get up. I was humiliated, and maybe just a little bit injured. Maybe. I did not want to face my coach, so I slowly but emphatically limped off the field, hoping everyone would forget my mistake and just feel sorry for me and my injury (which was growing worse and worse in my mind). I got to the sidelines and met Dad’s gaze. He was giving me the disappointed look (I didn’t …