Nobody tells a story better than Jesus Christ! In Luke chapter 15, Jesus tells this parable about a son who did an offensive and unthinkable thing to his father in the culture of his time – he asked his father for all of his inheritance in advance of his father’s passing. To ask such a thing was the same as him telling his father, “Dad! I would rather live my life as if you were already gone – so can I have everything I’ll get when you’re dead!?” As crazy as it sounds the father in Jesus’ story generously responds to his son’s unthinkable request in an even more unthinkable way – he gives his son every last penny of his inheritance; to live his life in whatever way he wanted.
Jesus went on to say that this son left home immediately (because everyone knows you can’t get the kicks you want in life under your own father’s roof), and then spent all that his father gave him on every urge, every pleasure, and every experience he could grab for himself. It didn’t take long for him to lose it all – leaving him broke, friendless, lost and without any resources. Just to survive, he was forced to slop pigs (something no self-respecting Jewish boy would ever allow himself to do), and he became so hungry that he wished he could steal some of the pig food to fill his own empty stomach. In the moment he realized that pigs were better off than he was he began thinking – really thinking about his life. He concluded, “Well, I’ve disrespected my father in the way I’ve lived my life. I’ve shamed my father, and I’ve shamed myself. I’m disqualified to be loved as my Dad’s son, let alone even treated with the same kindness he shows his lowest grunt workers. I’ve ruined every possibility of ever being restored and reconciled back to my Dad’s love.”
Here’s an interesting question, worthy of some consideration. Have you begun thinking – really thinking about your life? Have you ever arrived at the same conclusion as this son in Jesus’ story who believed, “I’ve ruined every possibility of ever being restored?” Ever felt like you’ve completely disqualified yourself from God’s love? Ever thought, “Of course God loves everyone, it’s all true for everyone but me!” Ever thought, “The mistake I’ve just committed disqualifies me from God’s blessing!”? If you ever find yourself so lost in the mistakes you’ve made that you think, “I’ve ruined the possibility of being restored to God’s love” – you need to hear what God says in Hosea 2: 14 – 23.
In the next posts I want to explore the question – how does God choose to respond to people who have disqualified themselves from His love? I think the answers we uncover go a long way to help us become people who run to God rather than from God before, during, and after our acts of sin.