He was angry and would not go in. Therefore his father came out and entreated him.
— Luke 15:28
Jesus knows the heart. The parable of the Prodigal Son shows us that very frequently prodigals are not welcome even today. We are quite willing to have the respectable folks come into the church, those who are well-clothed and come from good families and upbringings, but bring the drunk in off skid row, bring in the person who has destroyed his body with vice, drugs, and sinful living, and some people will raise their eyebrows. Sinners are told to come into the warm harbor of God’s love, and they run smack-dab into the iceberg of the elder brother.
“What are you doing here in our nice church?” Some people do not really believe in conversion. You talk to them about the thief on the cross and they become very upset, even as some of the early Christians did not believe Saul had been converted.
For 24 years, I lived without the slightest shadow ever crossing my mind that I was separated from God and on my way to perdition. Not until I came to that realization did the door of God’s mercy open to me. Let us always be open and welcoming to those who seek after God. He always welcomes a repentant sinner.