I was struck again by how easy it is to be the brother in the story of the Prodigal Son. The Prodigal attempts to create his own reality - in essence - saying to his father, "Your way works for you but I have to please myself so I am going to go my own way." When he discovers the loss of discipline, direction and direct contact with God leaves him without friends, funds or a future he makes a plan to at least have a roof over his head and a benevolent master for whom to work.
The father, of course, is the real star of the story and a challenge for any father to emulate. The fact that he had determined, even before repentance, he would forgive and forget, is a lesson to fathers everywhere that the consequences of an action is usually punishment enough for the penitent child.
It is the brother who reminds me how self righteous I sound when I require a time of repentance, acts of contrition, a period of ostracization before forgiveness will be given. How selfish I am when I demand my rights from someone whom God has received. Even as I write this I am uncomfortable with this complete a forgiveness.