“But we had to celebrate and rejoice, because this brother of yours was dead and has come to life; he was lost and has been found.”
The kingdom of God is a strange world to be sure. It is a lifestyle not of condemnation but of commendation. It is a life-view that sees hope even in the most hopeless and new life offered to those that do not seem to deserve a second, let alone third chance. Our humanity doesn’t react well to folks that appear to have turned their life around. In fact, we often times see those lives trying to hide their true nature, plotting to return to the life they once embraced. Somehow we may even think we are superior since we did not live such decadent lives. So along comes Jesus who offers a new thing, a whole different way to see the world which actually encourages and celebrates relationships with people who may in our opinion have a sullied past or even a different way of seeing the world. Jesus proclaimed that, “God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” (John 3:17) In other words, Jesus offers hope and renewal even to those that we feel are undeserving. The heavens celebrate those who have turned their lives around. Maybe God is waiting for us to see people a bit differently as well. Maybe Jesus was sent by God to offer us an alternative way to base our opinions of others as well as to offer the “way the truth, and the life.” When the basis of our lives is Jesus the Christ and not ourselves, we will “know the truth and the truth will make [us] free.” (John 8:32) Offering grace and mercy is not an option, it is a lifestyle; it is accepting the truth of our Lord Jesus Christ and the message of hope even to the most lost. Nobody is too dirty for Jesus to clean up; that is the celebration, and that is our hope as well. Bottom line is that we are all in the same boat and just as grace and mercy is offered to us, it is offered to all. The joy, and the challenge, is in the acceptance of the gift. Thank you Jesus for another chance to get it right.