“My son,” the father said, “you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.” – Luke 15:31-32
I love The Parable of the Lost Son found in Luke. For many reasons, I have found it useful often in my life. As the middle, strong-willed, independent child of my family… this parable has brought me much peace in times when I had to repent, humble myself, and come back home to my Father God. However, due to a discussion in the Disciple One class I help lead, a deeper conversation about this parable got me thinking about it in a different light.
Forgiveness… so easy to need, much harder to give. So yes, I relate to the brother who leaves, loses, and comes home again. Thank you, Jesus, for forgiveness… but the question here is, out of the two brothers, who was truly lost? When the wandering brother returns home, the reliable, obedient son is only angry. I think it is fair to see why. He followed the rules, did what was asked, worked faithfully, but they celebrated the one who went and lost himself?
It had me thinking, how merciful am I to loved ones when it comes time to give the forgiveness, give the mercy. Maybe not as good at it as I once thought. When I think about those in my life who have caused heartache and pain, frustration and loss… is my heart open to forgive when the lost are found? Can I truly say I share God’s unwavering mercy? More so, what is holding on to the bitterness doing for my soul?
In this season of Lent, I want to take time to really focus on forgiveness and God’s unrelenting mercy on us. Is my heart open? Dr. Long has said a few times in his recent sermons, “Let’s stop focusing on all the bad and put our focus on the good.” I believe if our mindset is directed at the good around us, we might just find places in our life where we need to give a bit more mercy. During Lent, I want to keep asking the question: When we are bitterly unwilling to forgive, which of us is really lost?
Sarah Cohea, Edmond Campus Director of Youth Ministry