I wonder how many things in this world exist in a state of “being lost.” On my list right now are my iPod charger, a flash drive, and all my chap stick.
Jesus was concerned about the people who were lost, and used stories in Luke 15 to remind the self-important Pharisees of how exciting it is to find something. Like a sheep who wandered from the flock. Or, one I can relate to, a piece of money. It was a reason to celebrate!
He then moved on to a story that was more obvious. It has been one of the favorites of preachers for my lifetime, and popularly labeled “the Prodigal Son.” Except, I identify more with the older brother. I live a very clean life, without desiring many of the experiences that other people try. But in my own subtle way, I am just as rebellious, with a smidge of sulfuric pride to make the combination more toxic.
The younger son told his dad that he wished him dead, and left with all his money to spend in the worst possible ways. But he repented, “came to his senses”, and came back to apologize.
The older son never left, but it is obvious that he thought his brother a no-good scum. At the end of the story he is left at the door, standing with his father inviting him in. Did he turn away from the party to go to the night because he could not forgive?
Which son am I? God does not endorse people behaving badly, but no matter what we do, He welcomes back the broken, repentant heart with a celebration. How quick am I to forgive?
Jesus sought the lost, and quickly forgave. It is not a hardship, but an exciting time of regaining something precious that you had lost. God, please help me learn to forgive like You forgive me. Amen.