Reconciliation: Forgiveness - Page 2


The Prodigal Son (Luke 15: 11-32)

We see these stages very clearly in Jesus’ Parable of the Prodigal Son.  The Prodigal Son could not wait for the money that would come to him when his father died, and so he went to his father and asked if he could have it straight away.  Having got the money from his father, he went off to a far country where he wasted the lot on bad companions.  Then came the famine, and he found himself alone in a foreign land, without money or friends or food.  The only way he could keep alive was by looking after pigs and sharing their food.  One day, as he sat there watching them eat, he realised how badly he had behaved in going off with his father’s money and squandering it all.  He now saw it from his father’s point of view, and for the first time he was sorry.  As Jesus puts it, “…he came to himself” (NRSV, Luke 15:17).

At once he made up his mind to set out for home and to own up that he had done wrong.  “I will get up and go to my father, and I will say to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son…’.  And, in order to show that he was really sorry, he decided to work on his father’s farm as a labourer and not to be treated as his son any more.  ‘…treat me like one of your hired hands’ (NRSV, Luke 15:18,19).

But when, weak and footsore and in rags, he came at last within sight of his home, he saw his father come running to welcome him.  And the young man told him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son” (NRSV, Luke 15:21).  But his father, who had been waiting day by day for this moment, would not let him say any more, but called for his servants to bring out the best robe and put it on him,; and to put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet, and to prepare a great feast.  So the father showed his forgiveness by treating him as his son again, as though he had never done wrong at all.