Best of Daily Reflections: One Hard Truth about Reconciliation
“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.”
You don’t need Sunday school flannel-board illustrations of the prodigal son to know how the parable unfolds. It’s a story as old as time itself.
A precocious child asks his father for an early inheritance. The father obliges, and the son tromps off with the money. The son doesn’t call. He doesn’t write. He doesn’t visit home for the holidays.
Instead, he spends his dad’s hard-earned money on things that would shame his dad until he runs out of cash and dignity.
Here is one hard truth about reconciliation: often, the party most offended makes the greatest sacrifice. The story of the prodigal son points us to the larger story of God reconciling us to himself.
From the moment Adam and Eve fell for the serpent’s trick and did what God told them not to do, God has been working our way back to him. We get confused and think it’s us working our way back to God, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.
The life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ is God’s work of reconciliation. He knows we might not take him up on the offer, but God still takes up his post at the end of that road, craning his neck in hopeful expectation that we will return to him on the road he paved for us.
The Bible tells us that the father saw his son coming from a long way off. Often, we feel that distance, as if people—and reconciliation—are a long way off. But God challenges us to move toward those whom we consider to be so very far off the mark.
Move toward them, with open eyes, an open heart, and open arms.
QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: Who are the people in your life that seem a long way off? Are you hopeful that reconciliation is possible, or have you given up? Are you willing to move toward them in celebration? Why or why not? What would you have to sacrifice in order for reconciliation to happen?
PRAYER: Thank you for working our way back to you, God. I confess there are people in my life—individuals, family members, entire people groups—with whom I don’t see eye to eye. Too often, I am waiting for them to see the light and come groveling back to me so I can give them a piece of my mind. Have mercy, Lord. Teach me what reconciliation really looks like, and give me grace to be more like you. Amen.