Last night I had a huge "ah-ha!" moment! Andy was preaching to our staff about sin. He was preaching from John 8. . .the story of the woman caught in adultry and the accusers with the rocks. . . remember that story. . ."let he who is without sin cast the first stone." I've read that story a zillion times. I've heard sermons on that story many times. I've even heard Andy preach on John 8 recently.
Well, further along in his talk he moved to Luke 15. . .another Bible story I am even more familar with. . . the son who asked his father for his inherritance and then squandered it and then returned home to an overjoyed father. . . .
Well, at the end of the story of the Prodigal Son. . .after the father has picked up his robe to run down the lane to greet this wayward son and after the father has put the finest robe on his son and given him the family ring and killed the fattened calf and thrown a huge WELCOME HOME party, the story shifts focus to the brother. . . .
Andy's sermon wasn't about the brother. Andy's sermon wasn't about the accusers about to stone the alduturous woman. But those are the people that my heart wouldn't let go of. Those people are me.
I'm sure in the John 8 story, the accusers dropped their stones VERY reluctantly and then I'm sure they walked away mumbling. I don't think that they really had an "ah-ha!" moment about the forgiveness that comes through Jesus and the sacrifice he was soon to be making on the cross.
And then there was this brother. This brother outside having a major pity party while the big bash was happening inside. When the father came out he pleaded with the brother to come inside and join the party because his brother had returned. But the son bcame angry because he had been faithful to the father and had stayed at home and had not squandered his inheritance or his father's reputation. This brother was bitter and angry.
And there came my "ah-ha!" moment. So often when I feel wronged by someone (Andy for example), I realized that I tend to be the brother. While God is celebrating that the son has come home, I stay outside and wallow in my own pity party. "Why God. . . I've been perfect. . . look at how great I've been. . ." and God patiently leaves the party to invite me in and to remind me that the brother has chosen to come home. . . .
Often I am the one person who has the hardest time dropping my stone. I don't throw it, but I stand there holding on to it. When Andy was talking I could actually feel the stone in my hand, I think on some levels I find security in holding onto my stone of accusation against others.
I'm not explaining my feelings very well, but I did have a realization that I need to celebrate in God's forgiveness of not only me, but of others. . . of those who have wronged me especially. If God can forgive them, I should be able to forgive them and then DROP THE STONE AND JOIN THE PARTY!