11 August 2009

Loving a Prodigal

The following was first posted to Gaia Online on 8 August 2008.

The story of the prodigal son from the Gospel of Luke has recently manifested in my family. After many years of running, our prodigal has finally returned to the family and appears repentant (details are private family business that I'm not going to post to the Internet).

We are now faced with a choice: we can celebrate his return and give him our love and support as he tries to put the shattered pieces of his life back together or we can act like the prodigal's selfish brother and shun him.

As disciples of Jesus our choice should be clear but far too often the free will that God gifted us with becomes a curse. Our selfish need to be right or to seek revenge or compensation stands in the way of healing. Instead of welcoming our prodigal home with love and forgiveness we are inclined to turn him away with righteous indignation.

Someone once said that we are the sum of the choices we make. In this case my choice is to stand by our prodigal no matter what he may have done or what wrong choices he may have made. That doesn't mean that I approve of his actions; only that I love him anyway. If God can unconditionally forgive me for all that I've done in my life, how can I possibly refuse to do the same for my own family?

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