Let the wicked forsake their ways and the unrighteous their thoughts. Let them turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on them, and to our God, for he will freely pardon.
I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you.
Before my husband and I had kids, we decided on a list of family values we wanted to define our parenting and the culture of our family. One of our top values is honesty, but the more I parent, the more I realize the value of honesty encompasses responsibility, too. Responsibility, for us, is about being honest about our mistakes. It is about being honest about our contribution to a fight or dysfunction in a relationship. Let me tell you, teaching responsibility to a two year old is no small task, but when I look at the story of the prodigal son, I see this principle clearly demonstrated.
The prodigal son experienced sorrow over his situation and the ways he had caused harm in his relationship with his dad. Rather than blaming others or wallowing in his misery, he took responsibility and moved in a new direction. Even though it was hard, he acted courageously and leaned into his relationship with his dad. What was the father’s response? Absolute grace.
God, the loving father, is not interested in holding sins over our heads. God simply desires for us to honestly name our brokenness. When we acknowledge our wrongs, He is quick to offer grace and forgiveness, and welcome us back with open arms. He calls out our goodness as sons and daughters and doesn’t want us to go to self-hatred. When the prodigal son says, “I am no longer worthy to be your son,” the father responds by still treating him well and even calling him his son.
That same love, that same grace, is available anew for each of us today.
- If you’ve never asked God for forgiveness, consider taking that step in faith today. We’d encourage you to check out willowcreek.org/faith for additional resources!
- If you’ve been a Christian for a long time, take five, 10, or even 15 minutes to meditate on this question: in what areas of my life do I need to take responsibility for my brokenness and also be reminded of God’s grace and forgiveness today?