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In Luke 15 we read the parable about the prodigal son.
Remember the story?
"A man had two sons. The younger of them said to his father, 'Father, give me the share of the estate that falls to me.' So he divided his wealth between them. And not many days later, the younger son gathered everything together and went on a journey into a distant country, and there he squandered his estate with loose living. Now when he had spent everything, a severe famine occurred in that country, and he began to be impoverished. So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. And he would have gladly filled his stomach with the pods that the swine were eating, and no one was giving anything to him. But when he came to his senses, he said, 'How many of my father's hired men have more than enough bread, but I am dying here with hunger! I will get up and go to my father, and will say to him, "Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in your sight; I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me as one of your hired men."' So he got up and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion for him, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. And the son said to him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.' But the father said to his slaves, 'Quickly bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet; and bring the fattened calf, kill it, and let us eat and celebrate; for this son of mine was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found.' And they began to celebrate."
As I was reading the parable the other day, one sentence stood out to me: "Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in your sight."
We read the story and we can see very plainly that this young man sinned against his father. I mean, he wanted his inheritance before the father died and then he wasted it.
But I think we don't often realise his sin wasn't just against his father, but also against God.
In Psalm 51 David made this confession to God after sleeping with Bathsheba and then killing her husband in order to hide his sin: "Against You, You only, I have sinned and done what is evil in Your sight..." (vs.4).
David didn't even mention the fact that he had sinned against two people; his focus was on the fact that he had sinned against God.
Sin is always against the Lord, because sin is rebellion against God.
Sin is turning from the Lord and going our own way or doing our own thing.
It can involve people, but not always.
Therefore we must come to the Lord first and confess that we have sinned against Him and receive His forgiveness. When we do that, we have this promise from the Lord: "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9).
Only after confessing to the Lord and receiving His forgiveness do we go to the person we have sinned against, if our sin involved someone else, and confess and ask for forgiveness.
The father of the young man in the parable embraced and kissed his son showing he accepted him in spite of what he had done.
In the same way the Lord accepts us in spite of our sins because of our faith in Jesus as Lord and Saviour.
Don't run from the Lord when you realise you have sinned against Him, but rather run to Him. Confess your sin, receive His forgiveness and allow Him to cleanse you from all unrighteousness.