Tuesday, July 25, 2006

a light-bulb moment

How many times have you heard/read the story of the prodigal son? Hundreds at least probably. The son says "hey dad, give me my inheritance now, I wanna go have some fun." So the dad does, and the son goes to Vegas and blows it all on cheap booze and cheap women. So when the money's gone and times are hard, he realizes what a fool he's been and goes back home. Once he gets there, the father runs to him and is so happy his son came back. Throws a big party, grills up a side of beef... A wonderful picture of forgiveness, right? We all play the prodigal way too much in our lives. But there's something else there that seems to me to overlooked most of the time. What does the son say? He says "I have sinned, I am no longer worthy to be called your son, treat me as a hired hand." He doesn't say "I'm sorry, now give back everything I had before" or "I'm sorry, treat me as a hired hand... but if you want to throw a big party for me, that's cool..." There's an attitude of repentance and remorse that the son has that I think is as important of a lesson as the lesson of forgiveness.

I've been giving a lot of thought to the subjects of forgiveness and restoration. Forgiveness for me is much easier than restoration. I don't even have to know that the person is sorry because forgiveness is for me, not them. Restoration of the damaged relationship requires the rebuilding of trust, and that's so hard. I'm so thankful that God doesn't require what we do for restoration - we are going to sin again, that's a given. But God restores us to the position of sons and daughters anyway.

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