Patience with Prodigals
Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, and am no longer worthy to be called your son.
A mother and father wrote to Billy Graham with this question [paraphrased]: “Our son left home several years ago because we didn’t approve of his lifestyle. We’ve had no contact with him until he called recently and said he’d like to come home for Thanksgiving. We want to see him, but as far as we can tell nothing has changed in his life. What advice would you give us?”
Billy Graham answered: “Did the prodigal son’s father know whether or not his son had changed his way of living when he welcomed him home (Luke 15:20)?” The obvious answer is “No.” Dr. Graham went on to counsel the parents not to blow out the flame that was flickering in their son’s soul, be it ever so faint. Just as the prodigal son in Luke 15 had to swallow his pride, so did the son of these parents. And that’s a step in the right direction. If there is a prodigal in your family, wait patiently while God works in his or her life to produce genuine repentance. Be ready to fuel the flame of repentance with love and forgiveness when you see it flickering with life.
The smallest step in the right direction is a step toward God. If God’s arms are open, so should ours be.
The glory of Christianity is to conquer by forgiveness.
2 Corinthians 7:9-11 (New International Version)
9 yet now I am happy, not because you were made sorry, but because your sorrow led you to repentance. For you became sorrowful as God intended and so were not harmed in any way by us. 10 Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death. 11 See what this godly sorrow has produced in you: what earnestness, what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what alarm, what longing, what concern, what readiness to see justice done. At every point you have proved yourselves to be innocent in this matter.