Plot Twist: Week 10 - Day 2

Opening Prayer:

Lord, help me be aware of my own shortcomings and ready to confess and move forward in grace. Amen.

 

Read: Luke 15:17-18, NIV

“When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you.”

 

Reflect:

In today’s portion of the Prodigal Son parable we read about the younger son recognizing his error and planning to return to his father and repent. He has run out of options and realizes it’s better to return home, apologize, and seek restitution than to continue down the path he’s chosen.

 Without getting too far ahead in the story, I believe it’s important here to point out a contrast between the younger son and the elder son. We will read later in the story that the elder son has made his own transgressions but is unrepentant. Jesus wants his audience of tax collectors, sinners, and self-righteous Pharisees to understand the importance of a repentant heart.

 It’s easy to settle into our Christian journey and assume we’re doing everything correctly. We go to church. We give faithfully. We invite others to church. We try to instill Godliness in our kids. But God cares deeply about the posture of our heart and that can easily slide into superiority, judgment, and self-righteousness even as we’re doing “all the right things”.

 

Apply:

Think about someone you know that has rejected Jesus. How do you view that person? I’ve been following the Christian way for close to fifteen years. My husband and I have been heavily involved in many aspects of church life. But, I have a close relationship with someone who has rejected God and, in turn, it often feels like this person rejects me and my way of living. Studying this parable closely has helped me identify how judgmental I’d been towards this person’s choices. I’d lost respect and regard for him despite knowing and loving him for years. I’ve become self-righteous, assuming my way made me superior and that gave me the right to write off another human, created in God’s own image. This is an example of the type of unrepentant sin Jesus is warning about in the parable. Take time to align your heart with God’s today and ask that any hardheartedness or superiority be illuminated.

 

Closing Prayer:

Sovereign God, I repent of any judgmental and condemning thoughts I’ve had towards others - both my brothers and sisters in Christ and those far from you. Let me acknowledge and honor the image of Christ in everyone I meet.

Terry Schneider