I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants.
It really is that simple. It’s not about undertaking some treacherous task, accomplishing some impossible mission, or enduring some punishment in penance. All we have to do is rise up and go to the Father. Our sin has made us unworthy, but His love made a way. When we repent, He forgives us. When we ask for mercy, He gives it. When we return, He welcomes us back. His grace keeps the door open so that we can always go back home to Him.
It’s all about the choices we make—for God or against Him, to accept or reject Him, to get closer or stay far away. So many things can hold us back, like pride or fear or misunderstanding. So many times we can convince ourselves that simply asking couldn’t be enough, that there has to be something more required of us. But it’s not about what we’ve done, but what God has done. A son who’s messed up knows he can go back to his father and expect help from him, so how much more can we expect from our gracious and merciful heavenly Father?
What we’ve done may make us feel like we aren’t worthy to be called a son, but we can never cease to be our Father’s child. His love for us isn’t dependent on what we do, but whose we are. And He seeks for us all the more and waits for us longingly to return to Him because we are His, because His love for us is unending, because He is willing to show us mercy and delights to restore us when we seek Him. Let’s refuse to believe the lie that tells us what we’ve done is unforgiveable.
There’s no need to overcomplicate things, and there is no need to fear. When we know we’ve sinned and we are willing to bring that to our Father, He promises to forgive us. When we are so ashamed by what we’ve done, we can expect sweet mercy at His feet. When we are afraid we’ve gone too far to ever be restored, He comes to us where we are and lavishes us with His great love. So if we find ourselves just now at a distance from Him, all we need to do is arise and go home.