“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.”

— Luke [15:32]

 

A REMARKABLE STORY OF A RETURN TO HIS FAITH, BY A CONVICTED FELON

Mike Anderson went into a Burger King with a gun and robbed the fast-food restaurant. He was arrested, and at his court hearing he was sentenced to thirteen years in jail. The judge allowed him to be released on bail, and he was told he would be notified when to show up to serve his sentence. However, a clerical error resulted in Mike never receiving a date. He did not return to a life of crime. Instead he returned to a life of faith. He started his own construction business. He volunteered at church and with youth football. He got married and had three children. He was well liked in his community. 

“Within ten minutes, the judge granted Mike credit for the time he should have been in prison. Mike walked out of court with his wife and daughter a free man.”

Thirteen years later the clerical error was discovered and Mike was sent to prison to serve his time. His story received national and international coverage. People created a petition and garnered thirty-five thousand names. Within a year, Mike was standing before a judge at a court hearing to discuss his release. Within ten minutes, the judge granted Mike credit for the time he should have been in prison. Mike walked out of court with his wife and daughters a free man. 

“Jesus tells the story of the Prodigal Son as an example of redemption, forgiveness and a return to a life of faith.”

Today’s verse is from the famous story of the Prodigal Son. Jesus tells the story of the Prodigal Son as an example of redemption, forgiveness and a return to a life of faith. It is a story of a young man who squanders his wealth and lives an improper life. Like Mike Anderson he was on the wrong path. The Prodigal Son, like Mike, realizes he was lost. In seeking a change, the son returns to his father and confesses that he was headed down the wrong path. The father joyfully welcomes his son back. 

“Without forgiveness, their turning towards a faithful life would have been lost.”

These two stories tell the obvious tale of a person who has sinned and gets a second chance. In Mike’s case the second chance is a story of a complete return to his faith in God, which was interrupted by the discovery of a clerical error. But in both stories the men recognize that they were far removed from where they needed to be and a life of faithful living. Consider, how would these stories have ended without forgiveness? What if the judge had gone strictly by the law? What if the father had not accepted the Prodigal Son’s remorse? Without forgiveness, their turning towards a faithful life would have been lost. Both Mike and the Prodigal Son needed to change and return to their faith, they also needed forgiveness. 

Blessings, until next time,
Bruce L. Hartman

 

PARTING THOUGHTS

Can we recover what was lost and then found?

What are our life experiences where we needed to turn to a faithful life and to be forgiven?

How quickly does God forgive if we trust and have faith in God?

 

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