Confession As Embrace
But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.
- Luke 15:20
In yesterday’s devotional we looked at the famous story of the Prodigal Son, and how Jesus captures how confession most often feels like punishment to us. The verse above is the next small section of that story, and it captures how God really feels about it.
The father in the story is looking only for connection, and to the degree that confession leads to that end, it’s what the father wants. But notice, the prodigal son has not yet uttered a word of remorse. There’s been no hanging of the head, no muttered apologies. It’s simply the fact that the son has turned towards home that makes all the difference to the father.
The father has been waiting. Looking. Longing. And the father is willing to break with decorum and sprint out to hug the son - again, before the words of confession are even spoken. And the consequences for leaving in the first place are not even considered. As Richard Rohr says “Every time God forgives us, God is saying that God's own rules do not matter as much as the relationship that God wants to create with us.”
We’ll do some practical work in the next couple of days on confession, but it won’t matter at all if we can’t embrace the reality of God’s approach to confession - it’s a small step towards the ultimate endgame of restoring intimacy with God. Can you accept that? Pray about that today.