The young man then returned penniless and asked for his father's forgiveness. As Edwin spoke of the rebellious son, Jerry quietly thought about Johnny's experience. Then, as he was beginning to walk away, he turned around and with a troubled expression asked,
"What should I say to God?"
"Just pour out your heart to him. It's like a man who has betrayed his wife's trust, and committed adultery. His loving and faithful wife is more than willing to take him back, so, in what attitude should he approach her, and what should he say to her?"
Jerry knew that there was no way Edwin could have known about his experiences. He wrote off the first two stories, about the man who had all his debt paid and the son coming home destitute, as mere coincidence. But with the third "illustration" about a husband who committed adultery made him shudder. He had been unfaithful to his wife, but only he and the guilty woman knew that. Jerry said,
"His attitude should be one of genuine humility; humbled that his wife would take him back. He should simply say that he has violated her trust, that he has no words of justification for what he has done . . . and that he will never even think of committing adultery again."
Edwin answered. "Go and do likewise. God isn't interested in your words, but in your heart. Repentance is telling God you are sorry for sinning against Him and saying that you will never even think of doing it again. That husband may be tempted to lust after other women, but if he does, in the light of the grace his wife showed him, he will immediately pull his thoughts back into line with his new resolve to do only that which pleases her."
With that, he put one hand on Jerry's shoulder and prayed that God would continue to speak to him, and bring him to a point of genuine repentance. Then he said,
"If I were you, I would go home, get on my knees and read Psalm 51."
To be continued...