Pause for Thought

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I recently read the parable of the Prodigal Son again. 

If you don’t know the story, a son asks for his inheritance and spends it wildly. 
He hits rock bottom so returns home to ask his father for forgiveness.
I was struck by a line I’ve never noticed before:
“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him.”
While he was a long way off?
I used to think the dad forgave because his son apologised, but it turns out the dad played the trump card.
He forgave him first. 
And so it is with God our Father.

Matt Bellingham, Poplars Church at The Golden Ball