Friday, 24 May 2013

Friday - Forgiveness

Prayer:  Deliver us O Lord for the sake of Your love.  Let Your healing flow down upon us this day.  Amen.

Luke 15:  21 – 32

Verse 21 opens with the youngest son asking his father for forgiveness.    Even though it was his stomach that originally pinched that led him to returning home,  something new has happened.   The youngest son has realized that the life he led at home with his father and family was actually wonderful.  The youngest son steps up to new maturity and asks his father for forgiveness.      “Father,  I have sinned against heaven and against you.  I am no longer worthy to be called your son”.    (St Luke 15: 21   NIV   Zondervan 1983).

The father then does four things that are incredible.  First,  the father calls his servants to bring  the best robe for his son.     The best robe was kept only for the most honoured guest that would visit the home.   The father  was giving the best robe to his son.    This was the father’s way of showing to everyone that the son was accepted back home again as a son and not a servant.   Second, the father asked his servants to put a ring on the son’s finger.   The ring is a symbol and sign that the son is part of the family.   Third,  the father asked his servants to put sandals on the youngest son’s feet.   Only slaves and the poor went about barefoot.   Those who wore shoes were not slaves.  Fourth,  the father killed the fatted calf and opened up his home so family and friends and neighbours could celebrate the return of the youngest son.  All was forgiven.

But out in the field is the eldest son. He comes near the house and hears rejoicing and music and dancing.    He asks one of the servants what the party is all about.  The servant answers that his brother had returned home and that their father had forgiven the youngest son.     The eldest son stews away in anger.  The eldest son stomps off in anger over his father welcoming his brother home.    The eldest son  had been left with trying to help his father run his business on half the property with half the servants and half the animals because his brother had taken the other half.

The father goes out to the eldest son and pleads for him to join in the celebration and in the forgiveness of the youngest son  but the eldest son turns his back on his father in anger.  

So who really is the prodigal son?   Is the prodigal son the youngest son for wanting the wild life and then realizing his mistake and asking for forgiveness and coming home?  Or is the prodigal son  the eldest son who lived each day with his family and does not ask for anything but becomes angry and does not forgive his father for welcoming his younger brother home?   

Jesus was telling this parable to the Pharisees and Sadducees.  To the very people who are God’s chosen people.  The very people who lived in the love of God each day yet somehow,  the very people who could not forgive those who had turned away from God and then after a time repented.  

Forgiveness is so important for us in our journey as Christians.  If we hold in our anger or stew away in anger like the eldest son,  our lives become bitter and we end up not allowing the love of God into our hearts.     Each day,  remember to ask God for forgiveness.  It cleanses our minds and our souls so that we can be like the father of this parable and always forgive others.   Come home,  all is forgiven.

Prayer:   Great God,  we know that we can always come before You as You have already forgiven us.   We thank You for Your eternal forgiveness.  Cleanse our minds and hearts and souls this day of all actions and words that have brought pain to Your people. Forgive us O Lord.   Amen

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