So many of us know the story of the prodigal son that is told by Jesus in Luke 15:11-32. If you don’t then I highly recommend reading it because it is the story of the believer before coming to Christ.
I chose to blog about this after I read an article about Katy Perry’s mother and how she called herself the parent of a prodigal. I thought the term was very interesting so I proceeded reading. I thought about how hurt her mother must be, not by her daughter’s actions, but by the church itself. We all understand that the church is not made up of perfect people. If it was made up of perfect people there would have been no need for Christ whose very blood was shed for the sins of the world. In the article she described how people would question her saying, “How could you have a daughter like that?” Her answer was one of grace and of love. I want to pose this question to the body of Christ. How many of you could be considered a former prodigal?
How many of you were a prodigal son or daughter before you gave your life back to Christ? I can say that my own journey was not easy. It came with a lot of scrapes and scars. The prodigal son left home with all the money he had and he squandered all of his inheritance on earthly things. The Bible says in Luke 15:14-15, “he began to be in want. so he went and hired himself to a citizen of that country, who sent him into the fields to feed swine.” It seems that the son was too embarrassed at the time to return home to his father to let him know he had squandered his inheritance. I remember a time where I was not living a life of righteousness and how I did not want to go before the Father and admit my disobedience to Him. I had not lived a life He would be pleased with and because of that I hid from Him for a long time. I tried to correct my mistakes on my own, but how many know that in this walk there is nothing you can do all on your own. When we try to do it on our own we are basically telling God we don’t need His only son’s blood and that the blood he shed was not good enough for us. We have all been there at some point so why to we continue to throw spiritual stones at one another. We become no better than the men that stoned Stephen in Acts 7:54-60. Stop throwing spiritual stones! Pray that grace be showed to your brother and sister the way God showed His grace upon you!
Eventually the prodigal son humbled himself and went home to his father. He went home saying in Luke 15:19, “I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like on of your hired servants.” Sometimes we get so deep into our hole that we believe there is nothing that can get us out, we will never be able to show our faces again, and even when we return we say to ourselves that we are no longer worthy to be called a son or daughter of the Most High King. As the body of Christ we cannot be so caught up on self that we forget where it is we come from and where we have been. We cannot forget that we too were in the dirt with the swine and tried to eat of the same husks as them. We too had to return home to the Father in our shame and in our guilt and humble ourselves enough to say, “Father forgive me.”
When the son returned home his father embraced him. And in Luke 15:22-24 something happened that the son was not expecting. “The son said to him, ‘Father I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring out the best robe and put it on him. And put a ring on his hand and shows on his feet. Bring here the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and be merry. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to be merry.” God celebrates the return of his sons and daughters. I’m sure the father of this son was hurting and wondering where his son had gone, but it never says he gave up. He trusted God through the process and the son was welcomed home with open arms.
Now some prodigals may be worried about what others may think when they try to come home. The prodigal son had a brother that was not too happy about the return of his brother. The return of a prodigal causes heads to turn and people to speak. In the instance of Katy Perry’s mother, instead of praying for her and offering their love and support people ask questions like, “What are you doing about this?” She is offering her love and support to her daughter through the squandering and through her mess, but the church turns its nose up like they have never been a prodigal once in their lives. The church treats prodigals like, “God I have been here the whole time. Why did you not bless me?” Instead of being joyous for the return of our brothers and sisters we ask, “Why not me God? Why them?”
I recall returning home and finally admitting that I was wrong, I did not want to show my face to my grandmother because she was the one who prayed me through my mess. I wonder how many people in the body of Christ could say they had a praying grandmother who prayed them through their nonsense. I was afraid of what people would say and what they would think, but on the other side was everything I could have ever desired or wanted. The Lord met needs I had forgotten about and never thought were possible.
So this blog was not just about the church persecuting the prodigal, but about those of you who may be a prodigal son or daughter right now, struggling with the decision to come home because of what people would say or think or because you do not want to be seen as a failure. I want to encourage you to turn away from that thought NOW! None of us are any better than you and we have all been prodigals at one point of our lives or another. The naysayers have no right to talk about what you have been through because honey there is a testimony on the other side and God is standing there with His arms wide open to welcome you home. Maybe for some your parents may be the one your fear and maybe they will have something to say, but God, your heavenly Father just wants to welcome you home with open arms. He doesn’t want to chastise you. He loves you more than you know. And I love you too! Be encouraged!