Author Alan Payton said about forgiveness, “When a deep injury is done to us, we never recover until we forgive.” In the story of the Prodigal Son, the elder brother could not bring himself to forgive. You recall that the younger son requested his inheritance from his father. His father gave it to him. The young man left home and partied until all of his money ran out. Broke and recalling that his father’s servants had plenty to eat, he decided to go back home. His father welcomed him and restored him to his place of honor. He gave a party to celebrate the young man’s return. But the older brother did not share his father’s forgiving attitude. When he heard the music and dancing, he asked one of the servants what was going on. Your brother is back and your father has killed the fatted calf to celebrate his safe return. The elder brother was so angry that he refused to go in. His father came out and begged him, “Look, dear son, you have always stayed by me, and everything I have is yours. We had to celebrate this happy day. For your brother was dead and has come back to life! He was lost, but now he is found!” The test of our character is not only avoiding certain sinful habits, but also in forgiving those who hurt us–whether they are siblings, parents, friends, neighbors, or even other ethnics groups.
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