Tattooed man
Are you unwelcoming to new believers who don't look the way you think a Christian should? You may be acting like the other brother in the story of the prodigal son. (Nathan Gibbs/Flickr/Creative Commons)

The story of the prodigal son is one of the most well-known stories in the Bible. It gives clear revelation regarding the current condition of the American church.

It tells the story of a person who grew up knowing of his father’s goodness, and yet when he reaches maturity, he chooses to take all of those things which his father has gifted him with and squander them on wine, woman and song.

When he has depleted his resources and finds himself empty, his rationale awakens. He now tastes the bitter tang of deep regret and brokenness. For the first time, he experientially compares the ruthlessness of the world to the goodness of his father. He sees how much of an honor it is to be a mere servant to this wonderful man. He returns with the heart of a servant and is awarded the ring and robe of a son. 

But then he faces persecution and rejection from the son who should have been the most happy to see him. This envious son is a type of shadow in the church today.

Individuals are torn and tattered like never before. They come to church donning gauges, tattoos and homosexual and sexual addictions. Some have different sexual organs than those God originally equipped them with. They are pained with the grief of aborting their own children. They have been abused, molested and raped. There are those who have been raised in homosexual homes whose father’s are simply known as “donor.”

But when they hear the irresistible gospel, their hearts of stone melt as wax in His very presence.  

According to the Father’s design, they are then handed over to the church. Our mission is to be an example of the love of Christ. However, all too often we are more focused on their appearance and performance rather than who they have become in Christ. We are compelled to teach them to receive the love of God and listen to the still small voice of the Holy Spirit, however many times we engage them with dos and don’ts.

I was always taught it is the Holy Spirit's function to convict people. But many of us have elbowed the presence of the third Person of the Godhead out of the way. We convey our wretched understanding of what a Christian “should be” to these new believers.

The one thing I so appreciate about this broken generation is their honesty and ability to decipher truth. If we portray Christ as a superficial savior, their “unbreakable brokenness” will push our religious pretense aside as they draw closer to the Savior.

Welcome to the family of the redeemed, my new brothers and sisters. I am one of many who will accept you just as you are, without one plea, but that His blood was shed for you.

David Vigil is CEO and founder of healyourservant.com. His life focus is to serve those who have been called of God and see to it that they are free to be exactly what they have been designed to be. His ministry is based out of Oak Hills Church in San Antonio, Texas. Under the tender of Randy Frazee and Max Lucado, he serves to restore ministers across the globe.

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