Have you ever slammed the door on anyone’s face? Or has anyone slammed the door on you?
That must have hurt―like a slap on the face―giving you enough ammunition to rage or hit back, even curse.
Pastor Robert Solijon recently revisited with us the story of the prodigal son―one of the most touching parables taught by Jesus (Luke 15:11-31)―a classic case of “door-slamming” especially when the son demanded, “Give me my share of the estate.”
Had I been in this father’s shoe, my knee-jerk reaction would have been, “The nerve, you ingrate!” And would have left him in the cold―till he repents. Di ba?
Because that’s just like being told, “I don’t want to have anything to do with you anymore. Give me what’s due me.” In other words, “You’re dead!” And that’s painful.
Overly dramatic me would probably respond with, “You might as well have stabbed my heart.”
A son or daughter turning his or her back is probably the saddest day in a parent’s life. But come to think of it, we’ve all been guilty of slamming and shutting that door on our loved ones―without us realizing it―whether you’re mom or dad or son or daughter.
Hurting words. Insensitivity to their feelings. Selfishness. Shaming them in front of others. Physical abuse. All these are door-slammers and alienators, causing someone to be defensive, unresponsive, uncaring and resentful―a recipe for a broken relationship or dysfunction in the family.
The father in this story, however, never ceased loving. He kept the door of his house―and heart― open. He kept on hoping. He waited and waited, till the son returned.
Without question, and even before his ingrate of a son (who smelled like a pig) could utter, “I’m sorry,” the father rushed headlong to embrace him, gave him a robe, a ring and slippers―even threw him a shindig. How’s that for forgiveness and “as-if-you’ve-never-strayed” attitude?
No amount of disrespect or rebellion could breach a father-son relationship. That’s probably the attitude Jesus wants us to have for our loved ones. And instead of selfishness, we could do with a little more kindness, patience, meekness, love, and loads of grace to keep anyone from shutting us off. The prodigal son was ready to ask for forgiveness. His father knew. Our heavenly Father knows too―if and when our hearts crumble.
Jesus demonstrated that while we were yet sinners, He died for our sins, bringing us back to as-if-you’ve never-been-away-status with Father God.
He did say (Hebrews 8:12), “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”
Father, I’ve pretty much slammed the door on you many times in my life. Forgive me. I’m sorry too for the way I’ve unkindly and shabbily treated my loved ones and others. I humble myself before you. Enable me to listen and obey your Word. In Jesus name, amen.