We had quite a few friends over for dinner yesterday.
Everyone had a great time or at least that’s what their belly laughing and third helpings led me to believe. We talked and played games for hours (6 hours to be exact!)
The consequence of the festive time was the cleanup. My kitchen looked like a train wreck, my apartment was left disheveled. Even in our effort to use disposable place settings my wife and I could not avoid a mound of dishes. We could complain but that’s the price you pay for having a good time. We were not caught of guard. A resulting unkempt apartment didn’t surprise us. We understood that this was the consequence.
I wonder what the son in Luke 15 was thinking before he left home. Did he consider a famine or loneliness? Had he pondered bankruptcy? Had his mind gone as far as the possibility of a pigpen? Maybe if he had examined all the risks he would have never made the far country journey.
Or maybe he would have gone anyway.
We know the situation could turn out bad but we go anyway. This may hurt me, scar me or embarrass my family but I still want to do it. In those moments the rewards seem to outweigh the risks. The pigpen doesn’t seem that bad.
Later in the story we see the son being forgiven but there are things we don’t see. We don’t see him dealing with the whispers, the strange looks, or how his mother might have felt. He’s welcomed back by dad and his return is celebrated but things aren’t the same. His brother is clearly not pleased. Everyone knows what he did. Everyone knows where he’s been. He is reminded of his poor choices.
We face our reminders too.
The pregnancy is a reminder.
The lung cancer is a reminder.
The depleted life savings are a reminder.
The marred reputation is a reminder.
There is comfort in knowing that even in the middle of experiencing the consequences of our behavior there is still a loving Father who is willing to forgive and accept us. The world reminds us of what we did but Jesus reminds us what He did. One day the burden our sins and their consequences will be forgotten eternally but the consequences of Jesus’ actions will be remembered for eternity.