Forgiveness Born Out Of Love
Have you ever heard someone say that they forgive you, but act like they are still angry with you? Forgiveness is much more than just words. Forgiveness is an attitude of the heart that is evident in a person’s actions.
Jesus teaches about God’s forgiveness in the parable of the prodigal son in Luke 15:11-32. In the story, the prodigal son rejected his own father and chose to live life on his own terms in a far off city. The son wasted everything his father had given him and ultimately faced starvation. Finally, coming to his senses, the boy returned home and begged his father to forgive him. The father’s response must have astounded the son.
The father did not point fingers at his son or remind him of how sinful he had acted. Instead the father said, “Bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet. And bring the fatted calf here and kill it, and let us eat and be merry; for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found” (Luke 15:22-24).
That is forgiveness! And that is exactly the way that God shows forgiveness to you. God’s forgiveness is born out of His deep love for you. You may have once been His lost child, but now you are found. He will not remind you of your failures or withhold His goodness from you as though He were mad at you. God loves you with an everlasting and unconditional love. In His eyes, you are no longer someone who once sinned against Him. Instead, you are perfect to Him!
Prayer for the day:
Thank God for His forgiveness. Pray that you will learn to forgive others the way that He has forgiven you.
Grace Leads You To Repentance
God loves His children by leading them into repentance. A Father who loves His children will not let them remain sick. He will make sure that they get well.
The first step in being made well is realizing that you are sick, and the first thing God’s grace does is to teach you to realize your need for Him.
Luke 15:11-32 tells the story of a prodigal son who was led to repentance by the love of his father. The prodigal son turned his back on his father and used his inheritance to indulge in a life of sin that ultimately robbed him of his money, home, and friends. Finally, when he had nothing left, the prodigal son decided that he would return to his father’s house and beg to be given a job as one of his father’s servants.
But Luke 15:20 says that “when [the son] was still a long way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him.” The father did not owe his son anything. He had every right to reject his son for the way he had shamed his family. But instead, the father lavished grace on his son. He ran to him and kissed him! Obviously, the father had been waiting for his son to come home for a long time.
How did the son respond to his father’s grace? In Luke 15:21 the boy replied, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, and am no longer worthy to be called your son.” The boy responded to his father’s grace by repenting of his sins.
This is a picture of our relationship with our heavenly Father. He is always ready to embrace you with open arms. The only thing we need to do is to repent and acknowledge our need for His love and acceptance.
Prayer for the day:
Thank God for loving you enough to see you made well. Pray that you will respond to His love by having a repentant heart.
Sin is incredibly deceptive. Sin always offers something pretty, but it ultimately gives you something ugly.
What are you really after when you engage in sinful activity? Essentially, you are searching for satisfaction. Whatever the sin, you secretly believe that it will satisfy all your longings.
The prodigal son in Luke 15:11-32 was looking for satisfaction, and he thought satisfaction could be found by leaving home and living the life of a playboy. With his inheritance in his pocket, the boy was ready to go. The lights of the city were calling him, promising him everything that he thought he ever wanted!
Unfortunately, the prodigal son was deceived by sin. What he thought would satisfy him actually reduced him to nothing. The boy spent all of his money on “prodigal living,” which is literally, wasted living. And then, after he had lost everything, a famine sent the entire region into a depression and the boy become destitute.
The prodigal son didn’t believe that he was wasting his life when he was spending all his money on prostitutes and parties. He thought he was being satisfied, but he was actually being robbed! God did create you to be satisfied, but this satisfaction comes only from having a relationship with Him. Fortunately, when the deceptively attractive veneer of sin wears off and a person is left broken and destitute, God will always be waiting to pick His children up into His embrace and show them true satisfaction.
Prayer for the day:
Thank God for showing you grace when you sought satisfaction in things other than Him. Pray that you will delight in the only true satisfaction that comes from belonging to your Creator.
The Grace Of Being Let Go
Sometimes people think of God’s grace as Him taking them back into His arms. But God also shows grace to people by letting them go. The story of the prodigal son in Luke 15:11-32 is an example of this type of grace.
In this story, the youngest of two sons approaches his father and demands to be given his inheritance. The father had servants, cattle, and land, and by the standards of that culture, the father was a wealthy and important man. Imagine how disrespectful it was for the youngest son to rudely demand his inheritance! What is worse, by demanding his inheritance while his father was still living, the youngest son was essentially telling the father that he did not care if he was alive or dead! Obviously, the youngest son did not want anything to do with his father.
How did the father respond to his son’s hurtful request? The father graciously gave his son everything that he asked for.
The truth is, no one is perfect, and even when we truly love God, we often still foolishly wrestle to be released from His embrace. At times like these, God does not get angry with us or kick us out of His family. Instead, He allows what we want and graciously lets us go, so that we might one day return and more fully experience His love. Even when a person squanders his inheritance of God’s love and blessing like the prodigal son, our heavenly Father is always waiting to welcome him back into His home and into His loving arms.
Prayer for the day:
Thank God for showing you grace when you are ungrateful and hurtful toward Him. Ask Him to help you abide with Him, and not to grow restless in His arms.
Our Relationships With God Is NOT A Business Deal
People often treat their relationship with God like a business transaction. We say, “Okay God, I’ll give you this and you’ll owe me that. Deal?” But our relationship with God is not a professional contract. It’s a personal relationship. Jesus addressed this issue in the parable of the prodigal son.
Take some time to read the story in Luke 15:11-32. One of the most important characters in this story is the older brother. Some people have an easier time identifying with the older brother than with the prodigal son. Like the older brother, maybe you feel like you have served your heavenly Father your entire life. You attend church every week, you tithe ten percent of your income, and you volunteer to help the poor and needy. Unfortunately, sometimes people who feel this way often make the mistake of believing that their actions earn God’s favor; as though they have God on the hook!
This is exactly how the older brother felt. He believed that his father owed him for not turning his back on the family and living a life of sin like his younger brother had done. He thought he had his father on the hook. What was the older brother’s mistake? He did not have a loving relationship with his father. He neither truly loved his father, nor did he truly enjoy the love that his father had for him.
When you are in a loving relationship with your heavenly Father, you realize that you cannot earn the love and grace that He freely gives to you. God does not love you because of your actions, but because you are His child!
Prayer for the day:
Thank God for loving you freely, and not because of your actions. Ask Him to help you live in a loving relationship with Him.