Forgiveness and Grace Beyond Reason

Sunday we once again heard the familiar story of the prodigal son (Luke 15: 11-32) from Pastor Dave. This story is loaded with questions. Is the older son called upon to forgive his younger sibling for skipping town? This younger brother, “He is into himself”, as we would say. Or should he forgive his father for welcoming his youngest son too easily? Or should he forgive both of them, or neither of them? 

The story doesn’t say. It does celebrate the glory of repentance and the certain freedom it unleashes. The father and his rehabbed son’s ability to party and celebrate are truly glorious. The other half of the story is left for us to ponder. The subtleties or interweaving of who owes what to whom keep the mind wondering. I think we all sense that for the sake of himself and his family the oldest son needs to escape from the resentment he’s feeling. Whether he can, we can imagine, depends on if he sincerely believes in the reality of God and that forgiveness is a gift from God. It’s an immense tall order and can easily be mistaken for something else.

As I thought about last week’s sermon it seems that all three parties were accountable to one another. The core of Jesus’ teachings in all its simplicity is the natural ability for God’s forgiveness to flow through our willingness to forgive. Jesus in all his humanness knew first hand through experience the hard stuff, the emotional roadblocks we face daily in life’s circumstances. No wonder we struggle with spiritual difficulties as we journey along. Jesus struggled with these things too. 

The idea that I don’t immediately have to pass through to a quilt and resentment free spiritual zone when it comes to forgiveness, allows me to take the first tentative steps I need to take. Something becomes better than nothing if that something is authentic. The best that could happen may come around full circle later on. To ask, to want to shape up and be all God intends for me to be can become possible. Nobody’s perfect, except once in a great while. ☺ It’s not necessary to be perfect to forgive and be forgiven. We’ve talked about heart hopes during worship. Maybe the secret to all of this lies in the unseen designs of the heart.

Abba Father, For the well of forgiveness and grace that we all dip into daily, we are so grateful. Write the desire on our hearts to pass this wondrous gift on to others. The world all creation Father, cry out for your forgiving, healing touch. May we see your kingdom as you see it, here and now. Amen

Lois Autterson

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