The word “restore” is verb that means to bring back (a previous right, practice, custom, or situation); reinstate; return (someone or something) to a former condition, place, or position; repair or renovate (a building, work of art, vehicle, etc.) so as to return it to its original condition.
How might the word “restore” connect with the starting point of what we believe about God and relationship with God? The framework for the starting point of what we believe was established for most of us along the way in our childhood. For some, the belief that there is a God is part of that framework. For others, the belief that God does not exist is part of that framework. For still others, the framework landed in the middle.
Whatever framework we have, the reality of the world in which we live is that things are broken. The way the world works is broken; the way people treat one another is broken; and for many, the way we expect God to work in the world seems broken.
Part 2 (Restore) of CCC’s Starting Point series delved into a story Jesus told in which he identifies what’s broken, why what’s broken, and what restores what’s broken. The story is one of the most well-known stories Jesus told and is commonly referred to as the story of the prodigal son. It’s actually one of three back-to-back-to-back stories Jesus told about that which is lost being found.
Check out the story in Luke 15:11-32 and then consider the following questions about how to restore the starting point of what you believe.
- What is something you would like to have restored (car, furniture, etc.)?
- How would you describe the process of restoring something?
- Why do you think the son asked for his inheritance? How was this different than a “mistake”?
- How do you think the father felt when the son asked for his inheritance?
- In what ways did wasting his money add to the wrong nature of his choice to take his inheritance early?
- How did the son’s choices leave him with nothing and nowhere to turn in the challenges?
- Why do you think the son decided to go home? What do you think his fears might have been?
- How does it strike you that he intended to become a servant at home?
- Why do you think the father recognized his son from a distance?
- What does it say about the relationship for the father to run, embrace, and kiss his son?
- Why was it important for the son to “own” his sin and the consequences of it?
- Why did the father restore the son as a son? Why was this cause for celebration?
- How does forgiveness open the path to restoration?
- What next steps will you take to own the starting point of what’s broken in what you believe?
The son in Jesus’ story made an intentional and deliberate choice to set aside the relationship with his father and set out to do his own things his own way. It wasn’t “just” a mistake – it was an illustration of sin (which is something we don’t usually like to talk about – unless we’re talking about other peoples’). Sin always damages relationship and always has consequences. When the son realized the gravity of his sin, he decided to go home and own his decisions – and when he did, he was met by a father who was longing to restore the relationship that had been broken.
Whether we see it or not; whether we are willing to acknowledge it or not, the point of the story is that we are the son and God is the father. Every one of us makes the intentional and deliberate decision to set out to do our own things in our own ways. And when we do (it’s sin by the way) we damage the relationship with God. Fortunately, God is a father who longs to restore the relationship that’s been broken.
Today is Monday – make it a day that you own the starting point of what you believe!