"But while he was still far off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion; he ran and put his arms around him and kissed him." Luke 15.20b
|MURILLO, Bartolomé Esteban Return of the Prodigal Son|
What I always find so interesting in the parable is the little speech that the son is putting together in his head in anticipation of his upcoming meeting. He has confession, regret, even his own punishment all figured out; but the old man, well, he doesn't care. He doesn't care about anything other than the fact that his son was lost and has been found, was dead and is alive again. Here I think is the real power of forgiveness. Forgiveness dares to no longer defines a person (ourselves) by the past events; but by a future that is open to new growth, new bonds, and new opportunities.
So take a lesson from the story of the loving father: if there is a particular moment of guilt, of shame, of remorse that you keep carrying around and conveniently use as a stick to beat yourself up about, put it down. God doesn't care about your past, only the present. And today, God would simply like to throw his arms around you in love and say, "Welcome home."
A prayer: "Dear Lord, so often we carry within us burdens that you have long called us to leave behind. Give us the courage to lay them down and to run into your arms. Amen."