The hardest part about coming to God after I’ve failed, is wondering whether or not He will accept me. In my mind I believe He will, but in my heart I battle shame.
The Parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke, chapter 15) is one of the clearest offerings of hope displayed for us in the Gospels. In essence, we are assured that no matter how we might wander or disobey, there is a way back to the Father. The prodigal son could not restore the wealth he lost nor the innocence of soul. Thus we may suffer great loss, but there is a greater redemption.
Is there a remedial path one can travel following the experience of divorce? The answer of course, is “Yes!” There IS redemption and there IS restoration.
Isaiah 1:18 says it the best: “Come now let us reason together says the Lord. Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.”
The Hebrew word for “scarlet” means “double-dyed.” It suggests a deep-fixed permanency, humanly impossible to change. “Wool” signifies the original “undyed whiteness.” That’s quite a transformation, from double-dyed to undyed, all a result of the invitation from God to come and “reason” with Him.
In our English language, to “reason” with someone is to study and deliberate in order to come to a conclusion. To “reason” in the Hebrew however, means to “reprove.” Though not specifically stated here in Isaiah, it is presupposed that the heart being addressed to come and “reason”, has been convicted of sin. This is a mark of wisdom.
“Do not reprove a scoffer, or he will hate you; reprove a wise man, and he will love you.” (Proverbs 9:8)
The prodigal son “came to himself” or “came to his senses.” (Luke 15:17) He wallowed in his sin for a time, then came to a place of repentance. Holy Spirit “reasons” with us, enabling us to see our situation with clarity and then realign our hearts towards Him again.
The tragedy of Christian divorce has many scenarios. It may be only one spouse seeking a divorce, or it may be mutual. Children caught in the swirl is a whole other dynamic. If anything, spouses must guard their hearts very closely in the midst of divorce. Opportunities for sin gain momentum quickly when all support systems seem to be failing.
The reproof in this “reasoning” process, must be fully embraced. It is the path to redemption. The majority of divorces did not have to occur, except for the hardening of heart in one or both spouses. To remain in such a state is very dangerous. Repentance is the only way to overcome.
How is the pain of divorce related to the parable of the Prodigal Son? It’s all about the Father.
The word “prodigal” does not mean “wayward”, though it does describe the son’s behavior. It actually means “to spend until you have nothing left.” It aptly describes not only the son who left home, but in essence, the extravagant heart of the father.
Abba is so overwhelming gracious to us when we fail, that we can return to Him without fear when it’s time to “reason.”