In the book of Luke in chapter 15, Jesus heard the complaints of the scribes and the Pharisees when He took the time to speak to and fellowship with the known sinners of the town and the tax collectors. “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them! (v. 2)” In response to their comments, Jesus wanted to make it very clear that, unlike the religious leaders of the day, He does not play favorites over those who follow the Lord and those who do not. The three parables of lost sheep, the lost coin, and the lost son (the prodigal son) show that it is God’s desire is for everyone–every human being that He created–to have a relationship with God through Jesus Christ (1 Timothy 2:3-4). The three parables go beyond expressing God’s love and concern for the lost (those who do not know the Lord Jesus Christ). God not only pursues the lost, but He also desires a loving relationship with believers that have fallen away from Him even though they know the truth. The parable of the prodigal son reflects a young man who was raised with the knowledge of who God was because, when things turned badly for himself, he immediately asked for God’s forgiveness and mercy (Luke 15:18-19). To ask for forgiveness while declaring yourself to be “no longer worthy to be called your son (v. 19)” implies that there was already a place of standing and fellowship within the family. God graciously forgives us once He sees a change of heart and a spirit of remorse when we ask for forgiveness. God is so loving and gracious that He gives us the peace that we seek almost immediately when our heart and mind turns from sin and focuses on Him. Yes, heaven rejoices for the return of the believer who had fallen away. A changed heart for Jesus means that, once again, God can use that individual for the Kingdom of God! That’s a good reason to celebrate, and it is reassuring to know that God loves us so much that He will seek us out until we finally acknowledge His presence.