We are recipients of great grace which has been extended to us. Father God doesn’t owe us anything, yet God gave grace to us at the expense of the life of his son, Jesus. What do we do with that grace? Do we pass it on to others or do we hoard it and keep it to ourselves?
20 So [lost son] got up and went to his father.
“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.
21 “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’
22 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. 24 For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.
32 But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’”
Luke 15:20-24, 32
Even in the lost son’s leaving, which was for the wrong reasons, his father was gracious toward him, letting him make his own decisions. How hard is it to watch our kids make decisions which we know will bring them harm or send them down a road of temptation? Pretty hard.
Why would it be any different for our heavenly Father? God gave his own son, Jesus, to save us from lives of sin and to pay the penalty for our transgressions. As children of God, he desires for us to follow his principles and live lives pleasing to him.
The lost son abandoned those ideas and thought he knew a better way. He squandered his share of the inheritance and after spending it all on a fast life of sin and self-centredness, he came humbly back to his father. What would you do if you were his dad? I told you so. Don’t bother coming back here. You made your bed, now lie in it…
The offer of grace to others – even our own children – is difficult to extend. This is very odd, because we are the recipients of a great grace which has been extended to us. Father God doesn’t owe us anything, yet God gave grace to us at the expense of the life of his son, Jesus. And we turn around and often withhold that grace from others. Father God doesn’t do that. He is lavish with grace toward us. Just like the lost son’s father.
He saw his son coming, even when he was a far way off – why? Perhaps he was looking for his son to come home. And when we came close, the father ran to his son and hugged him and kissed him. While his son was confessing and apologizing, the father wasn’t planning his scolding message. Rather, he was contemplating the feast he would host for his lost son returned. Bring the best robe. Put a ring on his finger. Let’s have a feast and celebrate!
Why? Because this son of mine who was dead is alive again. He was lost and is found!
If this story teaches us about God’s dealings with us (which I think it does), God is more focused on us returning to him than he is on accounting for each and every sin and how he told us so before we walked away from him. God wants to find the lost. And his reason to find them is to love them and celebrate them. Not to judge them and scold them. Tomorrow we will see what attitudes and behaviour God scolds and judges.
In the meantime, do you need to return to God? Or do you have kids who are coming to you humbly after falling flat? Find the grace of God and show them the grace of God.