“And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. It was fitting to celebrate and be glad, for this your brother was dead, and is alive; he was lost, and is found.’ ” (Luke 15:31-32)
As we look at this parable of the prodigal son we learn that we Christians have a choice. God has chosen to use us to demonstrate with our lives the message of His love to every individual. We have a choice as to how we will carry this out. We can behave like the elder son and enforce what we perceive to be the law, without mercy, compassion, or understanding. We can reprimand sinners and separate ourselves from them lest they contaminate us. We can condemn the attitudes, actions and beliefs of the sexually immoral and others we want nothing to do with. In the process we will exclude many hurting sinners truly seeking God, and lead others into a false sense of security based on the belief that their works will make them right with God and earn them a place in heaven.
Or we can behave like the father. We can extend mercy and love to those who do not deserve it. God loves whomever He wishes, and not in response to human merit. He grants mercy, forgiveness, and grace to man based on the finished work of Christ, the labor of His love, on Christ’s merit, not ours.
We have a great opportunity. Love is what all men seek, but few find. We have the opportunity to tell them that God is the one Whom they seek. We have the opportunity to help others live according to God’s law by leading them to the only one who can enable them or us to do so. We have the opportunity to demonstrate God’s love to those who have been victimized by a brutal and merciless society, which if we think about it, is just about everyone. We have the opportunity to communicate the love of God so that people will not be afraid to approach Him in repentance. We have the opportunity to be healing vessels overflowing with God’s unconditional love.