Grace Unearned

Read: Luke 15:11-32

And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. (v. 20)

Have you ever done something that made you feel ashamed in front of your parents? Maybe something from childhood, like getting into a fight, shoplifting, or cheating. Maybe it was something bigger, something that still haunts you today.

We have all played the role of the prodigal son at some point, breaking the rules and doing whatever we please, with whoever we please, whenever we please. Of course, this behavior can’t last. At some point, we crash into the consequences.

In Jesus’ parable, the son “came to himself” (v. 17). Hitting rock bottom and acknowledging his mistakes, he decides to return home, not as a son but as a slave. He feels utterly ashamed and unworthy of his father’s love. As he humbly walks up the long driveway, reciting his apology speech, his father runs to him with open arms. It’s a totally unexpected and undeserved welcome.

As children of God, we don’t get what we deserve. We get what God desires. He desires to love and embrace us as sons and daughters. Like the father in the parable, he sees our sin and is filled with compassion for us. When we acknowledge our errors and return to him, he runs to meet us. No sin, big or small, can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord (Rom. 8:39). —Elise Johnson

As you pray, humbly confess and happily thank God for his ever-loving grace.

About the Author

Elise Johnson is a creative writer and professional communications consultant living in Toronto, Canada with her husband Andrew, an Anglican priest, and her daughter Beatrice. Her writing explores life as a new mom, being a minister’s wife, and more.