In only a couple of weeks we come to Great Lent, the period of fasting, prayer, and preparation before Christ rises from the dead. In order to prepare for this great event, there are a few skills that we as Orthodox Christians must keep in mind. One of these is forgiveness. Jesus’ message about forgiveness is clearly given to us in the bible through the parable of the Prodigal Son.
In this story, two brothers are promised large inheritances from their father.
However, while the older brother patiently waits for his inheritance, the younger brother asks for his share right away. He ends up wasting all of his money on material items, and not saving any for food or shelter. The younger son returns to his father’s house, not expecting a warms welcome. However, the father is thrilled to see him, and even prepares a banquet for him.
The older brother is upset that the father welcomed the younger brother back, but the father tells him that he should be happy, because “his brother who was once lost had been found”.
We as Orthodox Christians can learn a lot about forgiveness from the parable of the Prodigal Son. A lot of times many of us feel like the older brother in the story. When somebody hurts our feelings, or does something bad to us, we don’t really want to forgive them for what they did. However, God’s message is very clear.
Even though the younger son hurt his father by taking all of his money and wasting it, the father forgave him.
We need to follow this example as well. If we can’t forgive other people for what they have done to us, then how can we expect God to forgive us for all of the things that we have done against him? If we all keep this idea in mind, and remember God’s message to forgive others, we will be able to come into Great Lent with a clean spirit, and will be much more prepared for Christ’s resurrection.