What I love about the Scripture of the Prodigal Son was that the father didn’t wait for his son to be “perfect” before giving him the inheritance that he asked for. There was no expectation that the son had to be in line to get anything. He was given his fair share.
The older brother didn’t think this was ok, since he had done all the “right things”. He was upset that the father was celebrating the sons return despite squandering the father’s wealth.
And finally, I love that the father didn’t withhold himself from his son. The father didn’t wait for the son to humble himself, knocking on the door, apologizing, etc. It says that he saw his son a “long way off”. The father didn’t know why his son was heading into the town, he just knew that He needed to run TO his son.
When we read the story of the prodigal son, as parents, we read it from the perception that one day our wayward children will come back home and return to our authority/wisdom/guidance. For our children who left the church, we read it with the hope that one day our children will return to the fold.
The problem with these interpretations is that they having us waiting for our children to come to us. To humble themselves before us. To admit they are wrong, to turn back the right way, etc. We want to be told we were right. We want our children to do what we say, how we say to do it, and when we say to do it. We want obedience. And, in some cases, it has more to do with our own pride (of how others will perceive us) than how our children may have strayed.
Scripture shows a father who didn’t withhold from his child (even when he was not making the right decisions)… and a father who didn’t wait to hear how right he was, but instead RAN TO his child in the distance.
Perhaps the real lesson is that instead of sitting in our houses waiting for our children to admit they were wrong and we were right… we are supposed to be running toward the opportunity to embrace them, to reconcile and celebrate.
Who was won to Christ by being shunned for their sin? The Samaritan woman, is a great example. Jesus went well out of His way to encounter this one woman. She didn’t turn from her ways because the people of her community turned their back on her. She turned from her sin because Jesus came TO HER. Jesus showed love, kindness, compassion, and grace when others avoided her.
Who was won to Christ by being judged for their sin? The woman caught in adultery. While others stood with stones in hand to throw at her, Christ climbed into the pit with her. When others were ready to destroy her, Christ gave her life.
Perhaps it’s time we stop shunning people and throwing stones of judgement at those who simply sin differently than we do.