THE COURAGE TO GO HOME
I want your minds and your hearts for a few minutes. Begin by focusing and
concentrating. Question one: what is the hardest thing you ever did? Teens, what is
the hardest thing you ever did? Singles, what is the hardest thing that you ever did?
Young marrieds, what is the hardest thing that you ever did? Parents, what is the
hardest thing that you ever did? Empty nesters, what is the hardest thing you ever did?
Question two: what is the bravest thing that you ever did? Teens, singles, young
marrieds, what is the bravest thing that you ever did? Parents, empty nesters, what is
the bravest thing you ever did?
Question three: is there any connection between the hardest thing you ever did
and the bravest thing that you ever did?
Again, I call your attention to the parable of the prodigal son in Luke 15.
- There he was starving to death, feeding pigs.
- Consider his situation and conditions.
- He was homeless and belonged nowhere.
- He had no family where he lived--by his own choices and decisions he
was in a foreign country.
- He deliberately separated himself from his family and his home.
- His family had no idea where he was--they could not find him if they tried.
- He did not even have enough money to buy food.
- He looked like a man who fed pigs; he was dressed like a man who fed pigs;
and he smelled like a man who fed pigs.
- He was a starving man.
- He was so thin you probably could count his ribs.
- A person who saw him as he left home would not would not recognize him
as the same man.
- Then came that horrible moment when "he came to himself."
- He saw himself for what he was.
- He saw what he did for what it was.
- At the moment that he came to himself, he stood at a fork in life's highway.
- One fork was the road to death.
- He could stay where he was, and die.
- He could continue to do what he was doing, and die.
- He could fill himself with the shame, the guilt, and the embarrassment of
self-pity, and die.
- He could get angry at the world for all his misfortune, and die.
- He could punish himself for all his wrong doing, and die.
- He could just do nothing, and die.
- The other fork was the road of courage.
- When he left home he thought that he was being very courageous.
- But as he fed the pigs, he learned some hard lessons about courage.
- It takes no courage to be:
- Controlled by pleasure.
- An "impossible person."
- Those require no courage because they do not require that you deal
honestly with yourself.
- Feeding pigs in a foreign country during an economic depression led to
the discovery of true courage.
- It takes courage to look your personal failures "in the face" and admit
them--not to have a person force you to confess them, but to admit
them to yourself when there is no one to talk to but you.
- It takes courage to accept responsibility for the mess you made.
- It takes courage to take the necessary action to deal with the mess
- It takes courage to make a positive, constructive decision and follow
- If he took the courage road, he had to do some specific things.
- First, he had to leave the pigs and get out of the foreign country.
- Second, he had to get on the road that went home and return.
- Third, he had to admit his failure to his father.
- The hardest thing this man ever did was also the most courageous thing he
ever did: he found the courage to go home.
- Think about all the difficulty involved in walking home.
- He wanted to admit his mistakes and failure, but he did not know how his
confession would be received.
- Can you imagine his thoughts as he made that trip?
- In my opinion, the closer he got to home, the more afraid he became.
- "I know what Dad is going to say. I can hear him now."
- "I know how upset Dad will be when he learns that I wasted all that
- "I know how upset Dad will be because of what I did to his reputation."
- "And then there is older brother; oh, how I dread to face and listen to
- You know the parable.
- He had reason to dread older brother.
- As he made the trip home, wonder if there were moments when he thought there
was no need to complete the trip.
- "Dad will reject me."
- "Older brother will run me off."
- "Former friends will shun me."
- "Nobody will be glad to see me back."
- "I will be a constant, living embarrassment to everyone."
- I wonder if there were not moments when he thought, "I had rather die than
face my older brother."
- Pay special attention to the fact that without the courage to go home, nothing
- For the man to come to himself was good, but if he did nothing, nothing
- For the man to realize his failure was good, but if he did nothing, nothing
- For the man to accept responsibility for his mistakes was good, but if he did
nothing, nothing changed.
- For the man to confess to himself that it happened because of his choices
and his decisions was good, but if he did nothing, nothing changed.
- For the man to be sorry for his decisions, sorry for the pain he caused, sorry
for his foolishness and wastefulness was good, but if he did nothing, nothing
- The hardest thing any of us will ever do is to deal honestly with ourselves, and
the most courageous thing any of us will ever do is redirect our lives.
- "David, you talk a lot. What is the hardest thing you ever did?"
- The hardest thing I ever did involved all these things:
- It involved seeing, looking at, and examining the negative forces that
controlled me as a person.
- It involved admitting my weakness.
- It involved rejecting the slavery of my fears.
- It involved trusting God to love me and accept me in my imperfection.
- It involved redirecting my life and learning to function on the right motives
in new ways.
- "Did all that involve any courage?"
- Oh, yes! Courage I did not even know or understand until I dealt with my
- It always takes courage to understand why you are the person you are.
- It always takes courage to be honest with yourself about your weakness.
- It always takes courage to face your fears.
- It always takes courage to trust God's promises.
- It always takes courage to redirect your life.
- When the prodigal son "came to himself," he knew that he was dying.
- When he faced the fact that what he had done and was doing was killing him,
he had to make a choice.
- When he made the choice to redirect his life, he had to act on his choice.
- Are you dying?
- No, I am not talking about the front, the facade that you wear for everyone to
- I am not asking if you have your family and friends fooled.
- I am not asking if you have the congregation fooled.
- I am asking, when you look deep in your heart, when you are truthful and
honest with yourself, when it is just you talking to you, are you dying?
- Do you have a choice to make?
- Are you going to make it?
- Are you going to let yourself die?
- Will you make your choice and act on it?
- What choice? The choice to redirect your life.
- What action? Exercise the courage to go home.
[Prayer: Father, help us have the courage to come to ourselves. Help us have the
courage to make the godly choice to redirect our lives. Help us have the courage to
redirect our lives.]
God wants you in His family. There has never been a time when God did not want you
in His family. But it is not enough for God to want you as His son or daughter. You
must want to be God's son or daughter.
Let me be honest with you. There will always be an older brother. Satan will see that
the older brother is always there.
But God never stops waiting for you to find the courage to come home, wanting you to
find the courage to come home, and watching for you to come home because you
found the courage.
Older brother might cause you some stress, but God will heal your soul and give you
West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
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