Celebrating Is Not Condoning

I have a friend who worries–a lot. She worries about being holy and how other people are not. Actually, she thinks she is holy and most other people are not.

She asks me, “If you are helping people who have made bad decisions in their lives and are now suffering with the consequences, aren’t you condoning their lifestyle?”

Let me tell you a story. Seems that a young man, probably early 20s, felt like a prisoner working in the family business. He sat calculating and dreaming. One day he approached his father, the owner, and told him that he had calculated already how much his share of the inheritance would be.

“Why don’t you just give me my inheritance now,” he asked, “and then I’ll be out of your hair. And I can go live a life of freedom.”

So his dad shuffled some investments and gave him the money.

They young man left his small midwestern town and headed for the big city. He spent his entire fortune on women, gambling, expensive hotels and buying drinks for his new-found friends.

When the money was gone, he found himself scrounging for food with the street people. All the old friends were gone since he had no money.

Coming to his senses (some of us take a long time to mature), he decided to go home and get a job in his dad’s business.

When he returned home, his dad greeted him with great joy and threw a huge party for the whole town to attend.

The dad’s other son asked, “Aren’t you condoning his actions?”

“No,” dad replied. “He has done what he has done, and all his money is gone. But he is my son, and he has returned home. Let us celebrate that.”

No, Jesus said. We are not condoning his (my) actions. We are celebrating every time someone who was lost is now found.

Don’t be afraid to help others. Don’t worry about what people think. Jesus celebrates every time you help someone who was lost so that they will be found.

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