We all have defining moments – snippets in time that determine whether the trajectory of a dream, a pursuit, a job, or a relationship will change for the better or for the worse. Our defining moments are often accompanied by tough choices, much like the ones the prodigal’s father had to make the day his wayward son returned home.
Others in this father’s position might have chosen rejection, retaliation, retribution, or a variety of other ill-advised responses. Yet, motivated by his desire to restore the relationship with his son, this father welcomed home his long-lost son with open arms.
Just imagine the impact of that moment! Instead of a cold shoulder, the prodigal was wrapped in a warm embrace. Instead of justice, he received mercy. Instead of a lecture, he experienced love.
This defining moment between the prodigal and his father was marked by grace. The father didn’t focus on the past. He focused on the future. He didn’t dwell on what was lost. He focused on what he had gained – his dear son.
This father’s response to his son was motivated by love – the kind of love described here: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails…” (I Corinthians 13:4-8a, NIV)
Are you facing some defining moments in your relationships? Go to the Father. Examine your heart. Then ask yourself these questions: What do I want most? Retribution? Reimbursement? Revenge? A restored relationship?
It won’t always be easy to choose the latter, but by God’s grace, it is possible. The journey to peace may be filled with great challenges, but with even greater rewards. Together, let’s walk the path.
Dale Pyne – CEO, Peacemaker Ministries
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