Friday, June 27, 2008

Prodigals

Dear Pilgrim Pals:

I have taken the liberty, vested in me as moderator of this site, to reproduce Laura's excellent post verbatim from her blog A Perfecting Love.

Now, without all those legal sounding words, here's what I'm doing. Because Laura has written such an excellent post, I want to make sure that each of the Pilgrim Pals reads it. We're so glad that Laura has become increasingly involved as a pal and we value her insight and spiritual maturity so much. Thanks, Laura!

Laura, please deal with me severely if you are upset with me for posting your article. Just kidding...

Here's that post:

This classic parable was told at my church on Sunday morning.....Luke 15: 11-32 summarized......

- Rebellious son asks for his inheritance
- Foolishly leaves home, indulges in the pleasures of the world and loses his very dime
- He works on a pig farm, and desperately ponders eating pig slop
- He comes to his senses, comes home to repent to his father and pleads with his father to at the very least keep him on as a servant
- His father is so delighted in his return, that he ignores all that has happened and throws a huge welcome party
- The other son becomes upset, but the father pleads with him saying 'We have to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found!'

The focus of this parable is God the Father and the general rebellion of His children. It’s a beautiful story of God’s patient grace and His willingness to welcome each of us home into His loving and forgiving arms. We often just think of this story in this way, or in relation to broken parent-child relationships.

But what about our friends both Christ-followers and the lost, co-workers, and other family members? I've been convicted lately regarding how I treat people who are making risky choices, choosing different paths and really in general running from God. When someone we love and care about makes a choice that is contrary to God's word or has a different but risky perspective than our own, on an important issue, it hurts so much to watch that person just walk away, blinded by the world. Our first instinct is to stop that person, and harshly tell them why we think it is wrong and force them into a better path and maybe even walk away from them.

Unfortunately I have learned from this method, the hard way! and have done damage to important friendships.

Rather than be harsh, why not carefully tell that person in love and gentleness why you are concerned about their particular choice. Give examples from God's Word and tell them you are praying for them. They may still walk away and it will hurt, but you are now their silent, but mighty prayer partner, pleading to God on their behalf. By leaving things open and wrapped in love, they will be more at ease to perhaps return to you one day, or many months or years from now looking for that old familiar face, that shines with God's love and grace.

Luke 15:7 - "I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent."

5 comments:

Terry said...

2 Corinthians 2:6-7
So that contrariwise ye ought rather to forgive him, and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one should be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow.
Wherefore I beseech you that ye would confirm your love toward him.

I think that you are right Laura. If this your friend has repented of what ever he has been doing wrong then who are we if the Father has forgiven him to be so unkind as not to forgive also?....Love Terry

Goldwings said...

I just recently heard a sermon on this very thing.

The preacher was reading from Matthew 18:15-22.

Laura said...

Well I guess I can forgive you David!!

Felisol said...

Dear Pilgrims,
when we say our Lord's prayer (every day,I hope), we pray the lord to forgive us, like we forgive our trespassers.
If we cannot forgive, then we cannot pray.
If we cannot pray we're gone astray.
Then we sure need our Lord to forgive us and search to find us once more.
I, who is writing this, have been lost and found innumerable times.
yours Felisol

Vicki said...

Wonderful post, Laura. God bless you. All things done in love - I like that. May we love others, even when they don't make the right choices, and even when they reject God. After all, folks sure loved me when I was down the wrong path...that's partly why I returned!

The grace of God is so awesome, and sweetly demonstrated in the story of the Prodigal.

David, a great idea to print this!