The price of forgiveness

By Dave Henning / September 25, 2013

In Chapter 5 (“The True Elder Brother”) of The Prodigal God, Timothy Keller reminds us that, prior to the Parable of the Two Lost Sons, Jesus told two other parables in response to the Pharisees’ complaint that He was fraternizing with sinners.  Those parables are the Parable of the Lost Sheep and the Parable of the Lost Coin.

The author notes obvious similarities between the three parables.  In each parable something is lost and the one who loses something gets it back.  As each narrative ends, there is rejoicing and celebration when what was lost is returned.

But there is one notable difference between the Parable of the Two Lost Sons and the first two parables.  In the first two parables someone diligently searches for that which is lost.  However, in the third parable, no one searches for the lost younger son.  That is what the elder brother should have done, and a true elder brother would have done, at great cost to him.  Pastor Keller states that Jesus put a flawed elder brother in the parable so that we would long for our true elder brother, who at great cost suffered and die for our sins.  Pastor Keller concludes:

“Mercy and forgiveness must be free and unmerited to the wrongdoer . . . . but forgiveness always comes at a cost to the one granting the forgiveness.”

Today’s question: What is the cost to you to forgive those involved in your ministry downsizing or vocation loss?  How does bearing that cost help you heal?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “Changing duty into choice”

About the author

Dave Henning

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