It’s a story about a son who forgets about his father, take his inheritance, and walks away from the family home to live for himself (verses 11-16). Eventually, he comes to his senses (verse 17) and decides to go back to his father (verses 18-20). He’s expecting to be punished for his behavoiur, and is willing just to be a servant in his father’s house, but he’s surprised by his father’s reception (and so are we!):
But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.
The son said to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.”
But the father said to his servants, “Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him… Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is a live again; he was lost and is found.” So they began to celebrate.’ (verses 20-24).
What a great picture of God’s love for us! You want to come back to God? Well, God is filled with compassion for you. He wants to welcome you home. And he wants to celebrate.
In the story, the father doesn't interrogate his son, he doesn't tell him off, he doesn't do anything except show love. All he cares about is that his son has returned.
How do I return to God?Firstly, tell God how you're feeling - that you’re sorry for forgetting about him, but you want to make things right, you want to come back to Him. You could make some of the lost son’s word’s your own: ‘Father, I have sinned against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ Ask God for forgiveness and for his help to live with him as your Lord and God.
Jesus is the key to any of us coming back to God. He is God’s chosen way of making us able to be called his sons and daughters. It is only by trusting in Jesus that we can be God’s children, and have a relationship with God as our Heavenly Father.
If the idea of putting your life in Jesus' hands is something you still don't really understand, have a look here for an overview of what being a Christian is really all about. I would also encourage you to read Mark’s biography of Jesus in the New Testament.
At some time, all Christians need some help to keep at trusting in Jesus. So, why not start talking to a Christian you know, or go to a church or bible study group in your area. God gives us other Christians to help us live as his people.