As I was reading the story of the prodigal son this week, I asked the Holy Spirit to bring to light a new facet of the familiar tale.
For the first time, I noticed that the father how immediately and intensely the father hugged his son, regardless of the fact that the young man most likely wore the rags and stench of a swineherd.
And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him. And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son. But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. – Luke 15:20, 21, 22
The father didn’t ask that the son take a bath and then enjoy beautiful, clean clothes and a meal with the family.
He loved his son as he was and brought him into the fold.
What a beautiful reminder that God not only accepts us, but embraces us as we are when we come to him. There’s no need to straighten out our lives first, or to try to make ourselves worthy of his love – which would ultimately be impossible, anyway.
For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God. – Romans 3:23
We only need to admit our faults, and our need for his love, grace, and forgiveness.