It is one of the most well-known stories in the Bible. It’s about a young man, demanding his inheritance, squandering it, then, with tail tucked between his legs, making his way home – not as a son – but as a servant. Humiliating.
But the loving Father would have none of it.
Even though the boy’s older brother – who had always behaved himself – didn’t like it and felt it supremely unfair…
The loving Father would have none of it.
The lost son was home – at last – and that was cause for a party.
I love the story because it speaks not so much about “fairness” as mercy – not so much about “sin” as grace.
It isn’t cheap grace. It isn’t a free ride. The wayward son has to face his own foolish behavior and come home begging forgiveness.
But what a beautiful response from the father – and what a picture of our Heavenly Father.
The older son has to face some inner demons too. Even though we might appreciate how “unfair” he thinks the father’s response is – surely it can touch us, if we will let it, to help us ponder how the higher road is always mercy not judgment, graceful forgiveness, not pure, cold “justice.”
So – the scripture reminds us in this beautiful tale how much celebration there is in heaven over the lost being found – and the lost being welcomed home.
The only question is – are we willing to celebrate – indeed, are we willing to offer such grace to others?
In short, are we willing to love as we have been loved?