Has there ever been a time when you felt so ashamed that you didn’t think God could possibly love you? That’s how the prodigal son felt. You may remember his story. He’s the young man who wanted to make a name for himself by leaving home and taking his part of the inheritance early. It wasn’t long before he spent his small fortune on the cheap thrills of the world. After losing everything, the young man had nowhere to go.

The wayward son found a job working for a farmer and feeding his pigs. He had no friends. Nobody even cared enough to give him food to eat. As the days went by, those corn husks mixed with pig slop started looking pretty good.

But one day, the young man came to his senses. He realized his dad’s servants were eating better than he was. He went back, confessed his sins, and asked his dad to hire him as a servant. The story ends with the young man’s father welcoming him home and throwing a party for him.

Now, at what point in the story did the prodigal become a son? You may say, “He was always a son.” That’s true, but wasn’t he a bad son? Sure, but that didn’t change the fact that he was part of the family.

Some people use this story to teach that we’re saved when we confess and turn from our sins, but the story doesn’t have anything to do with salvation; it’s about our being restored to fellowship with God. Once we become children of God, we’re always His children.

Maybe you’re a Christian who’s been living like the prodigal son, or you know someone who is living like the world. Can you still go to Heaven? Yes, because once you’re in the family, nothing can change that—but it’s not worth the pain, loss, and broken fellowship.

Life is so much better at the Father’s house. Come back home today.

A man by his sin may waste himself, which is to waste that which on Earth is most like God. This is man’s greatest tragedy, God’s heaviest grief. — A.W. Tozer

Devotional by Dr. James A. Scudder