“The older brother was angry and wouldn’t go in. His father came out and begged him.” Luke 15:28 NLT
God saved him twice: once from sin, and once from his sinful practices.
Michael was angry. He hadn’t always been though. He once loved going to church. Not that he had a choice. His parents made sure he was there every time the doors opened. At a young age, he accepted Christ as his Savior. Somewhere along the line, however, he became an angry teenager. His walk away from Christ began with tobacco and led into alcohol abuse. Vandalism followed. He lashed out against churches, cracked open vehicles, and went on a string of destructive ventures. He was never apprehended by the police. Just too sly, I suppose.
By the time Michael turned 22, he’d calmed down a bit. All that remained of his prodigal childhood was the smoking. For some unknown reason, the convicting voice of God’s Spirit finally penetrated his hard shell. He listened, gave up his one final bad habit, and recommitted his life to God. God’s been using him ever since.
Some might get angry at God for forgiving and using Michael. He does, after all, have a sordid past and a bunch of baggage. The older brother in Jesus’ story probably would be one. He didn’t appreciate the fact that his father forgave his straying brother and welcomed him back home as if nothing had happened. Had he forgotten his son had requested his inheritance early and then blown it on wicked living? When his father asked him to join the “Welcome Home” party, he said, “No thanks!”
I’ll admit there have been times when I’ve thought God’s grace was unfair. Actually, it’s unfair all the time if you think about it. Were He fair, we’d all get what we deserved: unforgiveness and an eternity in a hot place. But He’s willing to forgive and forget all our sins if we only ask. And who am I to question His grace. After all, He’s God, He makes the rules, and He can love and forgive if He wants to. My job is to be more-rather than less-like Him.
Don’t let God’s grace disturb you. Repentance unlocks the door to forgiveness-regardless of what a person has done. Things much worse than the prodigal and Michael ever thought about.
Prayer: Father, thank You for Your grace that covers all our sins.
Martin Wiles Hodges, South Carolina, USA