My Bible reading today took me to a familiar passage. Most of us could quote this in our sleep or at least give a synopsis of the story. Luke 15 records the parable of the prodigal son.
As I read, I tried to think about the tale afresh, since it's often so easy to skip over something I think I already know. There are three main characters in this story: the father, the "good" son, and the "wayward" son. Many of us think of ourselves as being the son who ran off in sin and then crawled back later begging for forgiveness.
But what about the son who stayed home? He did everything right, always obeyed his father, was responsible. What else was he? Arrogant, unforgiving, unloving. How many times have we seen people we think have drug themselves through the muck and then finally come to the Lord and then responded with a self-righteous attitude? Or do we genuinely rejoice with them and love them as any other Christ follower?
The Father in the parable represents God, our heavenly Father. Some of us are parents as God is a type of parent to His children. Do we welcome back our repentant children with open arms, no matter what they've done? Or do we try to lord the mistakes over them and beat them down with guilt?
I've had to look at my own life in light of these questions and make sure I'm acting in a godly way in all of my relationships. In the end, I'm thankful God takes time to love each of us, and always gives another chance. Thank God He watches from afar off for us to come home to Him and take our rightful place in His family.