This blog entry has been contributed by a friend of The Healing Path Ministries.
In Luke 15 Jesus tells us about the parable of the Prodigal son, one we know all too well.
There is a moment in the story however that recently caught my attention. For myself personally and perhaps for others. It’s the moment in verses 16-19… It says this:
Luke 15 16-19: “And he was longing to be fed with the pods that the pigs ate, and no one gave him anything. “But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have more than enough bread, but I perish here with hunger! I will arise 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. Treat me as one of your hired servants.”
And this is what stood out to me…
“I am no longer worthy to be called your son”.
I have felt that way many, many times. I’ve been at the “trough” of my addiction, feeding on garbage, and then having a moment of clarity, I see my condition. My response almost always tends to be shame. And more than that, the voices in my head start, “you suck”, “you’re not worthy”, God’s going to reject you know”, “that’s the final straw and God will throw you into hell”. Pretty awful shaming stuff.
The son, in what seems like a “proper response” lowers himself, or rather believes he needs to lower himself, to the status of a servant, in order to return to his father.
However, what stood out to me, even more, was the repose of the father!
His father’s response isn’t just accepting and loving – it is in fact in direct contradiction to the false beliefs the son has taken on. It’s a 180-degree flip of what the son believed.
Luke 15 21- 24: “And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. And bring the fattened calf and kill it and let us eat and celebrate. For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.”
The response of the father is so important because as the son tries to lower himself into a servant’s position, he immediately adorns his son with a ring, a robe, and shoes for his feet. He kisses him and then prepares a calf to celebrate. All of these things are reserved for sons, not servants.
For me personally, I have found that in those times when I am “at the trough” of sin in my life, whether it be pornography or even just being distant from him, I tend to “lower myself” into a lower role. But God is the one, in His compassion for us doesn’t allow that for a second. Like the father in the parable of the prodigal son, he greets me with a kiss of intimacy and grace. He is quick to forgive and accept me back and reminds me of my place that never changes. That I am a valued son, and my position is rock solid. All it took was my humble return in confession and repentance. Though this is often taught about lost souls coming home to know faith in God, I find it most relevant in knowing that I may have to repent often in this life. But my Father God is always ready to welcome me home and affirm my place as His son.