Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
From today's New Testament reading, Matthew 21:28-32:
"What do you think? A man had two sons. And he went to the first and said, 'Son, go and work in the vineyard today.' And he answered, 'I will not,' but afterward he changed his mind and went. And he went to the other son and said the same. And he answered, 'I go, sir,' but did not go. Which of the two did the will of his father?" They said, "The first." Jesus said to them, "Truly, I say to you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes go into the kingdom of God before you. For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes believed him. And even when you saw it, you did not afterward change your minds and believe him.
From The Lutheran Study Bible:
Jesus graphically depicts the obstinance of His opponents and the depth of their sin in rejecting Him. There are times that our stubborn refusals to change our behavior are just as obstinate. In God's kingdom, no repentant sinner is ever turned away. Repentant tax collectors and prostitutes were welcomed; so are we!
So often, when greeted by a request from mom or dad, a child will respond in defiance. "No!" On the other hand, when told to clean up the toys at the end of a long day, children will respond with a "yes," but will dawdle and delay, finding every excuse not to follow through.
Just today, one of my own had been disobedient, and later, without a demand for confession, she came right up to me and said, "I'm sorry daddy!"
How glad is the heart of our heavenly Father when we are able to throw off the flesh that wants to be defiant, wants to delay in doing His will, wants to carry on as the lord of our life. How glad is our heavenly Father when His children see their error, and return to Him with repentant heart. And from His heart flow mercies unending. Amen.