In Luke’s gospel, chapter 15, we find a story of a young man who decided to leave his home, asking for an early inheritance, then going off and squandered it all on living a wild, pleasure filled life. There came a time, after experiencing the consequences of his bad decisions, that he decided to go back home begging to be hired on as one of the hired servants on his father’s farm. The father met him with open arms of forgiveness, took him back as a son, then celebrated his return with a party. The older brother, however, met him with jealousy, anger, and an unforgiving spirit. This older brother didn’t abandon his father, nor did he waste his inheritance, living a party lifestyle. His failure was that he failed to understand the good heart of his father and the importance of offering grace and mercy to others.
We need to understand that disaster for any of us is just one bad decision away. Because of our inherited sinfulness each one of us is capable of almost anything. Outside of God’s grace and mercy and the changed life He can make possible for us, none of us can be considered righteous. And because of how God treats us, then we ought to offer grace, mercy and forgiveness to others.
Who is it in your life that you would consider unworthy of God’s kindness or yours?
Who is it that doesn’t deserve a second chance? Is it the alcoholic or the drug addict? Is it the prostitute or someone who just got out of prison? Is it someone who hurt or deeply offended you in the past?
When someone desires to change, no matter what their past, let’s understand the truth taught in this story when the father says in verse 32, “we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.”