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Pastor’s Desk: Complete Forgiveness

Posted on Tuesday, February 27, 2024 at 7:43 pm

By Reverend Robert Hudson, Littleby Baptist Church

“He also said, “A man had two sons. The younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of the estate I have coming to me.’ So he distributed the assets to them. Not many days later, the younger son gathered together all he had and traveled to a distant country, where he squandered his estate in foolish living.” Luke 15:11-13

Jesus is teaching about a man and his sons. The younger son asked for his inheritance and took off. He proceeded to live foolishly, he chose a lifestyle that was likely a slap in the face to his father and probably hurt in ways that only a parent can understand. The sons’ choices led him down a path that resulted in ruin. He was so hungry he desired to eat the garbage that was being fed to the pigs. He hit rock bottom.

When he realized how bad things were and that even being a servant back at home would be better, he headed that way. He realized his choices resulted in his circumstances. He understood that he did not deserve to be welcomed back home as a son.

“So he got up and went to his father. But while the son was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion. He ran, threw his arms around his neck, and kissed him. The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight. I’m no longer worthy to be called your son.’”  Luke 15:20-21

The son repents and the father forgives.

“But the father told his servants, ‘Quick! Bring out the best robe and put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Then bring the fattened calf and slaughter it, and let’s celebrate with a feast, because this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found!’ So they began to celebrate.” Luke 15:22-24

The father’s response goes beyond just being happy to see his son. It goes beyond making him a servant. He forgave his son. The father gave his wayward son three gifts that point to how complete the forgiveness was.

Due to the bad choices, being homeless, and the travel it safe to say that he did not smell or look the best. The father gave his son the ‘best robe’. When it was placed on his shoulders you could not see the filth or the rags he was wearing. Put another way, the past was wiped away and forgiven. Complete forgiveness like we find when we turn to Jesus, repent of our sins, and choose Him as our Lord and Savior.

Forgives is also seen when the father gives him, ‘a ring on his finger.’ With the ring, the son was once again a representative of the family. If he entered into a legal agreement it was binding. The father recognized the repentance and forgave and trusted his son.

The third thing the father gave his son was ‘sandals on his feet’. These would serve as a reminder to him and others that he was no longer some wayward son, he had been forgiven. He was no longer identified by his mistakes, but as one who has been restored to his rightful place as a son.

The forgiveness seen in this parable is exactly what we have been offered through the sacrifice of our Lord Jesus. The forgiveness that is given to us as we repent and give our lives to Jesus. The forgiveness that completely restores us to the family of God.

“And be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another, just as God also forgave you in Christ.” Ephesians 4:32

Our God has shown us compassion by providing a path to forgiveness through our Lord Jesus. In that same fashion we need to show compassion and forgive those who have hurt us. If you do not know Jesus, ask Him to forgive you of your sins and choose to follow Him. If you are a Christ follower, pray for His help as you seek to forgive others.