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Forgive #AtoZChallenge

This year for the Blogging from A to Z in April Challenge I have chosen a single word for each letter of the alphabet. Each of these words is important in the Bible. I am including a story in each post. Links from biblical references go to Bible Gateway.
#AtoZChallenge 2021 April Blogging from A to Z Challenge letter FForgiveness is an important theme throughout the Bible. In many prayers God is asked to forgive people either individually or en masse.

People are also asked for forgiveness, for example after the death of their father, the sons of Jacob ask Joseph for forgiveness. Genesis 50:15-21

Jesus Christ taught about forgiveness in parables and in his answers to questions. In the prayer he taught his disciples forgiveness is important – both being forgiven and forgiving other people. Matthew 6:12 and Luke 11:4 How many times should I forgive? Luke 17:3-4, Matthew 18:21-22

In one story Jesus told there is a marked contrast with the passage from Deuteronomy (mentioned in my Letter D post) about a son, who would not be disciplined by his parents. In Deuteronomy the son would be stoned to death. The story for today’s post has a different outcome.

The wayward son and the forgiving father

There was a family with two sons. They worked the land and made a good living, but the younger son was not content. He wanted to see the world. By all the customs of the time, he would have been expected to work within his family and be content. Only after the death of his father would he expect to inherit any property or money.

He was impatient and asked his father to give him his share in advance. His father agreed, dividing his estate between the two sons before the younger son set off on his travels. With money to spend, he lived a debauched life. When he ran out of money he had no friends. There was a famine in the land. He went to work for a farmer – presumably a gentile as he kept pigs, which were not allowed to be eaten according to  the Law of Moses. He was hungry. In fact he was so hungry that he thought about eating the same food as the pigs.

His thoughts turned to his earlier life and his comfortable home. He realised that his father’s paid servants were better off than he was. He went back home to ask his father’s forgiveness and for a job.

His father saw him in the distance and did something, which was not considered dignified at the time. He ran to meet his son and welcomed him home. He restored him as a member of the family and ordered that a feast be prepared to celebrate his return.

The older brother was jealous. He complained that he had worked constantly and his father had never given him anything to have a party with his friends. The father pointed out that everything he had belonged to the older son, but he was celebrating the return of one, who had been lost to him.


The story Jesus told is written in Luke 15:11-31

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The Bicycle

With all the excitement of the Blogging from A to Z in April Challenge and some outings, which resulted in posts (and future posts) on Sue’s words and pictures, I missed my target of a post a week here!

I don’t feel inclined to remove my postaweek badge however.  Instead I am posting a piece of writing I did as homework for the writing group.  This is a local group affiliated to the Association of Christian Writers.  The task was “Keep it simple – 300 words”

The bicycle

“Here’s a bicycle,” said Dad.  “You’ll need to practise until you can ride it without falling off.  It will make life more interesting and widen your horizons.  I’ll help you and go with you.”

“Thanks, Dad.  When can we start?”

“As soon as you like.”

“I’m ready.”

Dad pushed the bike to a level playing field.  His son walked beside him.

“I’ll hold the bike, while you get on.  Can you reach the pedals?”

Dad used a toolkit to adjust the saddle and handlebars.

They practised every day.  At first Dad held onto the back of the saddle.  Then he let go. His son was cycling alone without realising it.

“Don’t turn the handlebars!” warned Dad.  “Just lean slightly in the direction you want to turn.”

After a few falls onto the grassy field, the son could ride his bike.  Next he learned to signal. He was ready to go out with his father.

His life became more interesting and his horizons were widened.

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Learning to trust God is like learning to ride a bicycle.  It takes practice.  Each day we need to climb onto God’s bicycle.  If we try to go our own way, we fall off and have to begin again.  Unlike the earthly father, who trains his son to ride independently, God does not let us go.

He has sent his Son to make it possible for each one of us to accept our spiritual bicycle, his Holy Spirit who guides us from within.  The Bible is our Highway Code.

If the earthly son becomes proud of his bicycle-riding prowess he may fall off. Similarly, if we forget our dependence on God and become proud or inattentive we become separated from him.  When this happens we need turn to him for forgiveness and restoration.