Pastor's Pen
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March 28, 2017, 11:30 AM

On Being Honest

 

 

On Being Honest

 

   Recently I was given a framed “copy” of Rembrandt’s painting entitled: Return of the Prodigal Son. You may have seen the painting … the Prodigal is on his knees in his father’s embrace and the father’s hands are on the Prodigal’s shoulders. It is interesting that one of the father’s hands is feminine and the other is masculine. Rembrandt’s painting of the Return is on the front of our church bulletin this morning.

   The parable of the Prodigal Son, told by Jesus in Luke chapter 15 is one of my favorite parables! There are many important points that one can make about this story, but one stands out as essential for each of us. It comes when the boy is in the far country; he has lost friends, money, and importance. And then you read this: “… he came to himself” (Luke 15:17). 

  You and I have to be honest with ourselves and with each other! You have to face what is. Again and again in my own life, I have come back to that scene of the boy in the far country when it says, “… he came to himself.”  He faced up to his predicament. There was no glossing over the reality of his condition. It is important to be honest, to face the facts. You might remember what Archie Bunker said to Edith on the television show All in the Family? He said, “Edith, I’ll gladly say that I’m sorry … if I ever do anything that is wrong.”

   One of the biographies of Frederick the Great tells of the monarch visiting a prison of Potsdam. As he walked through the depressing corridors of that place of incarceration, one inmate after another tells the ruler that they are innocent … that they are victims of injustice and obvious framed-up.  Finally, one inmate, looking down at the floor as he confronted his king, said: Your majesty, I am guilty, and richly deserving punishment.” Frederick summoned the warden and said: “Free this man and get him out of our prison before he corrupts all the other noble innocent people in here.” (Charles Allen, Victory In The Valleys of Life, page 71)

   The man was set free because he, among all the prisoners, was honest. There is a parable here. The only way to be set free from guilt is to face it, to be honest about it. That’s what the Prodigal Son did and he received forgiveness from his father. Do you see that as a parable about our heavenly Father too? 03.26.2017

Dr. Rick Baggett is pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Ardmore (the church with the bells) and can be reached at: rbgoodnews@yahoo.com


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