Climbing Out of the Pigpen


“I will get up and go to my father.”~~ Luke 15:18 (The Prodigal Son’s words from the pigpen.)

 “Landing in a pigpen stinks.  But staying there is just plain stupid.  Don’t spend another minute in the pigpen.  It’s time to rise up”  ~~Max Lucado, Glory Days

Do you ever struggle to move past your failures?  I sometimes do.  It goes way back for me … pretty much as far back as I can remember.  I’ve often struggled to accept forgiveness, and wrestled with myself to let go of sins and failures and mistakes that I made.  I recall a particular moment in high school following my jazz band concert.  I had a sax solo that had gone fairly well, but not perfectly.  Following the concert in the lobby a man came over to me and said, “Nice solo, son.”  My reply was to note that I made some mistakes and that I wasn’t really a good solo player.  To which he replied, “Son, you need to learn to take a compliment.”  I have always remembered the words – they had a strong impact on me.  And yet, I still struggle with failure and forgiveness.

In our discussion at last week’s Prayer Chain Book Study we came across the quote noted above from Max Lucado’s book, Glory Days.  It was found in the chapter entitled, “No Failure is Fatal.”  And we had an interesting discussion about “staying in the pigpen.”  And those gathered invited me to use the discussion as grist for my devotional mill this weekend.  (Thank you ladies, it was a great idea.)  I won’t speak for those that gathered that day for the study.  But for myself, I think there is some arrogance involved … for me at least.  For in my unwillingness to allow others to forgive me, there is a part of me that is too proud to accept absolution from someone else.  If I can’t forgive myself, than why would I accept it from someone else?  It sounds logical in my head.  But my perspective disables the desire of my companion to restore our relationship.  My unwillingness to accept forgiveness freezes the relationship in its brokenness.  It reveals my desire to control the relationship.  It reveals my comfort with staying in the pigpen … against my better judgment … against my best intentions.

Where are the pigpens in your life, I wonder?  And I wonder if you sometimes enjoy wallowing in the mud at times?  What prevents you, like me at times, from simply accepting the gracious goodness of a God who not only can forgive our failures, but at times can even grow us through those failures and turn them into blessings in the big picture of life?  Why do we at times strive to limit the abundant forgiveness of a loving God?   Maybe these are a few of the questions that you can take with you in your prayer life this week.

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Rev. Craig Ross

Senior Pastor

The vibrancy of life here at St. Peter’s makes my service on our staff a joy and privilege. Visitation, teaching and preaching are the ministries that feed my pastoral identity, as together our staff and lay members share in our missional calling … Building a community of faith by God’s grace.

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