Two Failures. One Invitation

By: Josué Villatoro

One had a spectacular future ahead of him; the other lived in luxury, full of success and glory. One was the heir to a business empire, the other the most important king of the moment. Despite this, neither of them made good choices, and what seemed to be a destiny full of brilliance and triumphs turned into a path full of darkness, failure, sadness, and destruction.

It started with their disastrous decisions. One asked his father to die; the other ordered a man to be killed. One squandered all his money on women; the other sexually abused a married woman. One brought economic ruin to his family; the other brought irreparable harm to his family in exchange for a moment of pleasure.

The story of the son who leaves home with all the inheritance that corresponds to him (Luke 15:11-32), and that of King David sexually abusing Bathsheba and having Uriah killed (II Samuel 11), present us with similar cases: breach of trust, temptation to do evil, preeminence of pleasure over reason, personal irresponsibility, and more.

However, we thankfully find in each of these narratives a central element: genuine repentance.

The king, exposed by Nathan, openly confronted, and aware of the terrible damage done to a woman who was now a widow and carrying an illegitimate child in her womb, says: “I know my wrong-doing, and my sin is always in front of me. I have sinned against You, and You only. I have done what is sinful in Your eyes. You are always right when You speak, and fair when You judge” (Psalm 51:3-4 NLV).

On the other hand, the young man, once handsome and popular, and now ugly, reeking, and poor, without friends and eating excrement, reconsidered, and said: “I will go home to my father and say, ‘Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son. Please take me on as a hired servant’” (Luke 15:18-19 NLT).

“I have sinned.”

“I have done wrong.”

“I have offended God.”

“I have hurt the people I love the most.”

What strong statements! No one likes to accept his wrong. No one wants to admit that he has made a mistake. But in these cases, the acknowledgment of sin and the confession of evil are the beginning of the path back to God, to the Father’s house, to forgiveness, and to restoration.

David, after receiving forgiveness, exclaims: “Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered” (Psalm 32:1 NIV)! The father of the family, upon receiving his son back home, declares, “We had to celebrate and be glad” (Luke 15:32a NIV). What a different scenario!

As we prepare ourselves to celebrate the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, we should consider the actions of King David and the young prodigal. Is it possible that we are in sin today? Is there a possibility that we have offended God or those close to us?

Like these two men, let us acknowledge our transgression and confess it before the Lord. Let us receive his forgiveness and celebrate with a clean heart his victory over sin.

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