Module 5 Devotionals
Most of us can relate to the story of the Prodigal Son found in Luke 15:11-32. This story is about two sons and their father. The younger boy asks for his inheritance early and leaves home to start a life of partying. When his money runs out, he finds himself in a bad way. He can’t get work anywhere except feeding pigs and they ate better than he did! It was at that moment when he realized his predicament.
His words in verses 17-19 relay this attitude. When he came to his senses, this prodigal son said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’
The son hopes for a job from his father. In spite of being welcomed warmly by his father, the son still confesses his sin. The father’s reaction was (verse 24), ‘For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate. This is how God has received us – with the welcome of a father delighted to have us home.
This father then instructed the prodigal’s brother to “kill the fatted calf” for the celebration. This brother’s reaction was as follows (verses 28-30): he was angry and would not go in. “The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders.Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’
If you haven’t run into someone like this self-righteous brother of a prodigal, hold on – he’s out there. We know we don’t deserve the blessings that God has bestowed on our hearts. It is in His infinite grace that He welcomes us home. That fact can encourage others to hate us.
The hardest anger to encounter was the anger directed at me from those I had wounded by making this choice. Many people in my life were mad at me for my “prodigal” ways and didn’t want me around. They weren’t convinced that I had changed at all. I hurt my mother, father, brother, and Alan’s family as well when they discovered the truth. The trauma of post-abortion pain came into their lives and impacted them too!
I sadly felt they were right about me. I certainly deserved wrath, rejection, and disdain! Thankfully, Christ set me free from the penalty of my sin. My only part in addressing their anger against me was to repent and ask for their forgiveness.
While many can voice forgiveness, some can’t live it. Their hatred is obvious. Even today, I have several people who can’t comprehend why I’m allowed to run a ministry. They’ve voiced to others, “People who’ve done the things Sydna has done don’t deserve anything – let alone the respect of Christians. She’s a horrible person!”
They are right about me. I don’t deserve it. Yet God gave it freely because I could never “earn” it!
To avoid the cycle of shame that can come from others, remember that God has forgiven our sin. When judgmental individuals come to mind, or when you feel their disdain directly, pray for them. Only God can change their hearts. I’ll know when He’s touched them because they will be different.
Do you need to confess and apologize to someone today? Ask God to reveal these individuals to you and help you know what to do next. God will help you cope with their rejection if they cannot forgive you and send others to encourage them to have mercy. In the same circumstances, they could have made the same choice!