By Jeff Brodie, Lead Pastor at Connexus Church
READ Luke 15:11-32
The Prodigal Son is one of the most powerful parables that Jesus tells, and I love looking at the story from multiple angles. Most of the time, you likely picture yourself as the Prodigal Son. You see yourself receiving the forgiveness and grace of our own Heavenly Father.
However, the story feels very different when you see yourself as the father. The father is the one who has been deeply wronged by his son, but still stands on the road hoping to see his son every day. He is always ready to open his arms with love, forgiveness and grace. He is FOR his son no matter what the son has done. He is a picture of compassion.
Being FOR people means welcoming them with open arms, no matter what they’ve done or who they’ve hurt, including you. It means to have compassion FOR people. Jesus opened his arms to you, forgave you, and wants you to open your arms to others in the same way.
It isn’t easy to welcome someone back who has hurt you, or seems to have made a mess of their life. In fact, you can see this struggle in the heart of the older brother in the story. He struggles to bring himself to have compassion towards someone who has hurt his father, and his, family so deeply. He sees his brother as someone who has made a mess of his life, and hurt their reputation.
But the prodigal son came back to the one place he thought would be open to him. The one place where people might be in his corner, who might give him a second chance, who could still be FOR him.
We want Connexus to be that kind of place in our city; a place where people know that we are FOR them.
So many people are looking for a place where they know they will be welcomed back. A place where they know the people will have open arms of compassion for them.
As you meet people in your life who, like the prodigal son, feel like life is against them, let’s continue to create a church that is FOR them. A place where they feel welcome, no matter where they’ve come from. A place where you can invite them, and other people will be FOR them. A place that the people of our cities know is a place that is FOR them.
People won’t know that Jesus is FOR them, until they know that we are FOR them.
Being FOR people is about open arms.
As you encounter people in your life that feel like life is against them, or have made mistakes, consider what it would look like for you to receive them with compassion. What would it mean for you to have open arms to people in your life who you’ve chosen to be FOR, regardless of what they might have done? Who do you know that needs people in their corner that you could invite to Connexus as a place that is FOR them?
As you pray today, ask God to help you see the people you are FOR through the lense through which He sees them. Pray that you might be given opportunities to extend compassion to them, in the same way that He extended his love and compassion to us through His Son. Pray that as you step into their corner, that they would ultimately know that God is in their corner.