What do you think of when you hear the story of the Prodigal Son? Do you think about the prodigal son, the forgiving father or the jealous brother? Can you relate to any of the three? If you have the great privilege to be a parent and a sibling, then perhaps you can relate to all three. I think we have all felt at one time or another where we have needed the forgiveness of a parent, maybe not to the extent of the prodigal son, but forgiveness for some reason. Maybe it was for something trivial or maybe it was for something critical. Remember the wonderful feeling when you heard the words "I forgive you"? These three little words carry so much weight. The love of a parent is unconditional and is never shown more than within this story.
Maybe you can relate to being the jealous sibling. Sometimes, we don't always have the complete story on why a parent does one thing for one child and not the other and we hold such a grudge against everyone that we can't see clearly and that ugly "green monster" takes over and consumes us. I cannot imagine holding on to something for that many years. Then when my brother shows back up again, I would like to think I would be just as happy as my father to see him.
Then there’s the prodigal son. I'm not sure in today's world if people are given their inheritance before their parents pass away. (In fact, back in those times it was felt that the prodigal son must have wanted his father dead to have asked for his inheritance early.) Did you ever feel like an outcast from your parents or were you ever asked to leave your home? Maybe you left because of bad circumstances between you and your parents. What a sad and lonely time it must have been for you to be away from home and not be in contact with your family. Forgiveness is such a hard thing for us to ask for, yet it is two simple words "forgive me".
The main thing to take away from this story is to forgive and ask for forgiveness. Two very important things we sometimes overlook and take for granted. The unconditional love of the father in this story is so amazing and loving and reminds us of the love our Heavenly Father has for each one of us. Even though we may at times lose our way through life and stumble and fall, we can seek His forgiveness through reconciliation. May God's plan for all of us bring us closer together as a church community during this Easter Season. God's Blessings on each of you!