Luke 15:1-3, 11b-24 (ESV)
Now the tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to hear him. 2 And the Pharisees and the scribes grumbled, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.”
3 So he told them this parable:
11 And he said, “There was a man who had two sons. 12 And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of property that is coming to me.’ And he divided his property between them. 13 Not many days later, the younger son gathered all he had and took a journey into a far country, and there he squandered his property in reckless living.14 And when he had spent everything, a severe famine arose in that country, and he began to be in need. 15 So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed pigs. 16 And he was longing to be fed with the pods that the pigs ate, and no one gave him anything.
17 “But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have more than enough bread, but I perish here with hunger! 18 I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants.”’ 20 And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. 21 And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son. 22 But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. 23 And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. 24 For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to celebrate.
Look at the love the father had for his son. His response to seeing his son from a distance was to have compassion. He then ran to greet his son, embraced him and kissed him. This was not at all what the son was expecting. He was fully prepared to confess his sin, turn from his wicked ways and be treated not as a son but as a servant.
The heart of the son had changed. He was no longer full of pride but full of humility. He knew full well the sinfulness of his decisions and behavior. He decided to arise and go to his father. This could not have been an easy decision since he would have to admit all he had done. He was so ashamed of his actions that he did not even think he was worthy to be his father’s son, but rather a servant.
How often do we feel that way about our sinfulness? It is easy to brush off the things we do that are not pleasing to God and to pull back from God and spend less time in prayer and in His Word because we know we are not walking in His ways. In what areas of your life do you need to confront your sinfulness? Is it your thought life, your finances or your relationships?
God is always waiting for us to return to Him. When we recognize our sinfulness and confess it to Him, He has compassion on us. He runs to meet us and embrace us.
Lord, open our eyes to see how we are not walking with you. Give us the courage to seek your forgiveness and the strength to turn from our ways to your ways. Thank you for your compassion and your forgiveness. Amen.