“But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.
This story is one of the most popular parables that Jesus told. It is a beautiful picture of the boundlessness of God’s compassionate love for each and every one of us. Each time I read this parable, I notice something different about the way God loves us. This time I was struck with the realization that even while the prodigal son was away, squandering his money and literally hitting rock bottom, the father still loved him. He didn't wait for him to come home and issue a formal apology. He didn't make him earn his trust back. He didn't make him work for it. He still chased after him before the prodigal could even mutter the first words of an apology.
This is how the Father is with us. I think it’s easy to think that God is angry at us or that He loves us less when we are away from Him and living in sin. It wouldn’t make sense for God to forgive us and love us anyway, even when we don’t want it. Just like it wouldn’t make since for the father to forgive and love the prodigal son even though he knew that he was deeply hurting and disrespecting his father. But this is how God is with us. Even when we choose against him - even when we spit in His face with our actions- His love never wavers. He never has to wonder if He’s going to forgive us. He never has to convince Himself to love us anyway. He runs towards us with open arms, rejoicing when we choose Him and come home.
This applies to you, too, you are not the exception to this forgiveness. And I think this story also serves as an example to us. We are to be people who forgive in this same way. When we live out of the knowledge that we are unconditionally loved and forgiven, we can give that same love and forgiveness freely.
God, Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you for loving me no matter what. Thank you for giving me the constant forgiveness that a don’t deserve. Help me to be more like you. Amen.