Paul’s words describe what many in a prodigal state are experiencing. Even if many of us don’t voice it – deep inside that is what we are feeling. The important thing is getting beyond the point of staying in our prodigal state. Finding a way to turn around and get back on the pathway we need to be on. For myself this is a slow process. I’ll be transparent and say – I think I am in my prodigal state because I am disappointed in my life. Things have not gone or turned out the way I believed they would. To me 2+2 = 4 and when it has turned out that in my life it hasn’t – I’m angry, I’m disappointed. I feel I’ve been let down. I’m at a loss to know why or what to do because of it? People don’t necessarily turn to drugs and alcohol to numb the pain. There are other subtle ways a person can get off track with the Lord. Don’t let the devil deceive you into thinking that Christians can’t be tempted or cajoled or – if in extreme pain – turn to ways of escape, because we can and many of us do. The mistake is not turning to our Father - Actually running into his arms. The mistake is in isolating ourselves, turning inward. Not reaching out to our Brothers and Sisters in Christ for help and support. And when you get that far off the pathway – it is a LOT harder to turn around and get the help, direction and compassion you need. THAT is why I am writing this blog. Because for myself – that is the point I am at. Are you at that point? Do you know someone who is? You know many of us in our Prodigal state don’t “appear” to the world to be in it. We can cover it up ohhhh soooo wellll. On the outside going through the duties of our daily routines (although if you look closely – you can see the hairline fractures…) but inside there is a HUGE battle going on. Our peace is gone, our hope has diminished. We are in a “stuck” position – where we KNOW what is right but don’t know how to get back or move ahead from where we once were. That is where we become vulnerable to not only the attacks of the devil – “You will never get right with God. I told you. You never stick with anything…” Or we get ostracized by our church or the brethren. How easy it is to judge. The most powerful lesson I’ve learned over the last two years – is not to judge. You look at me and say, “Well, Casey the Bible judges…” You say to me and my response is – “Yes it does.” But have you walked in the person’s shoes? Do you know all parts of their life? What they currently are going through? My Bible tells me that we are to “love each other as we love ourselves.” Hmmmm I guess the question we have to ask then is DO we love ourselves? I have learned that I must take the plank out of my own eye (and oh yessss my plank has been quite cumbersome and large) before I can even think of removing the speck that is in my backslidden brother or sister’s eye. And think about that for a moment. When someone tells you they have something in their eye do you march over to them, shove their eyelid open roughly and try to get it out. Or do you walk over to that person, gently take their head in your hands, tilt their head back, carefully lift open their eyelid and gently try to blow the speck away?
Love goes a long, long way….