When he came to his senses…(Lk 15:17).
When the prodigal son returned to his father’s house, it was not pleading, begging and prodding that brought him home. Nor was it shame and guilt that he was welcomed with upon his arrival.
Not being a parent myself, I cannot imagine the pain of letting a adult child go to follow their own stubborn rebellion. However, this is what the father does in Luke 15. The prodigal son had to get to the end of himself, before he was able to see and realize his own foolishness.
There is a ripping and tearing of the soul whenever an adult child rebels and goes their own way. However, we must allow them to “come to their senses,” because until they do, their hearts will never truly change. Their behavior might be changed, for fear of reprimand or shaming, but not out of a desire for holiness.
The fathers arms were always welcoming to the son, in a posture of grace and forgiveness he never shut his son out. The father did not remind the son of his many failures, but rejoiced that he had “come to his senses.” We too must position ourselves in the same spirit of grace towards those who, “come to their senses” in our lives. To constantly remind them of their failures, how they have hurt our family or failed as Christians puts them at odds with us, making them feel like constant failures. This keeps them from being completely restored to us upon their arrival. Not out of their own fault, but our of our unwillingness to offer them the grace of God.
God never shames us when we repent and neither should we shame others. Not just our children, but for anyone who has hurt us, rebelled or strayed from us. Every Christian needs to know that we believe in them. We believe they can be different, shutting them out or shaming them communicates to them that we believe they are an unredeemable person. In doing so, we have forgotten the grace of God and become self-righteous sinners in our own way.
Father, forgive us when we shame others, constantly bring up their failure, living in the past, not in the present hope of a bright future. Help us to remind our loved ones not of who they were, but who they are in Christ. Lord forgive me, I am quick to allow the past hurts of people to taint who I believe them to be or who they can become in you. I am self-righteous in my own way. I do not want to be that way. Forgive me for how I have wrongfully treated others and not extended the grace of God to them, in Jesus name, amen.