Read: Luke 15:11-32
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)
Abraham Lincoln once said to former colleague Joseph Gillespie, “I have always found that mercy bears richer fruits than strict justice.” Even if we agree with Lincoln’s statement, mercy is still difficult to give and receive. When someone has wronged us, we might prefer to even the score. Or we might fear asking for mercy because we are afraid we won’t receive it.
The parable of the prodigal son shows three responses to mercy. The younger son, who wasted his inheritance and separated himself from his father, felt undeserving of mercy. The older son, who had lived a dedicated and straitlaced life, found it offensive that the father would offer his brother compassion and mercy. But the father? He was so eager to show mercy that he ran out to meet his younger son.
God rejoices in showing mercy. God runs to embrace us when we are far off. God sees our need for compassion and gives it abundantly. As children of God, we are called to delight in mercy too. We may struggle with feelings of worthlessness like the younger brother or with envy and resentment like the older brother, but our goal is to become like the father, the one who is so eager to mend broken relationships that he runs out and welcomes the wayward child home. —April Fiet
As you pray, ask God to help you cultivate a love for mercy and forgiveness.
About the Author
April Fiet co-pastors First Presbyterian Church in Scottsbluff, Nebraska, and is a published author. She enjoys gardening, feeding her backyard chickens, and learning about new things.