I guess, as I have gotten older and became a parent, I can relate more to the Father. I think when you become a parent you get a taste of what it means to love unconditionally. This past summer we were at a Softball Tournament in Muscle Shoals. Isabella was sitting with her friends eating her food. When I glanced back again she was gone. My first thought was she was in the restroom, so I went to check. She was not there. Then I had my mom and Chad help me look. By this time my heart rate is beating a thousand times faster, and all kind of thoughts were running through my head. You have to understand there were only four fields, with two ways out. It has now been over five minutes, and no sign of her. At this point the whole team is looking for Isabella. Time kept passing, and no sign of her. I am not going to lie, by this time I was in tears. We had looked everywhere in this small space for her. I remembered thinking I can’t imagine if I never see my child again. This may sound dramatic to you, but under the circumstances it was a real thought. Finally, by this point all the Hartselle age groups were looking for her, and finally found her with another age group of girls hanging out somewhere else. As I saw her walking to me nothing but the joy of seeing her face mattered. You see because we love Isabella unconditionally, it didn’t matter what she had done, only that she was safely with us. I know if you’re a parent you have probably had a similar experience, or something that made you express unconditional love to your child. Although you should be very upset with them, you can only rejoice because they are safe.
In the story the Father doesn’t want to hear where the son has been, why he is dirty, why he has no shoes, or why he has no money. The man was simply so overcome with joy because his son was home, that love overlooked all sins. God is the same way. He does not judge those who are willing to come to Him. He is always there to receive anyone into His arms. Many people believe they have to clean their life up in order to come to church. I wonder why they think this way? Well it is nothing new. If you look in the story the older brother was not the slightest bit happy the younger brother had come home. He is just like the Pharisees, extending no mercy and no grace. He had abided by all the rules day after day, but now his brother was being celebrated for disgraceful actions. The brother refers to the younger brother as your son, and also tries to list out all the sins the younger son has committed. I wonder how often we are like the older brother. When people who are hurting and need help try to enter into our midst, what do we do? Do we act self-righteous and throw their sins in their face, or do we meet them as God would, with compassion and love. Jesus is clear in the New Testament about the greatest command: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ So although the eldest son had followed the rules, he had missed God because he did not love. The Father in the story is the perfect picture of how God loves us, especially the ones who are separated from Him. If we as Christians would practice the love that God extends to us daily, what an awesome change we would see in our world. Which one are you living as today; the sinner, the Pharisee, or the Father?
"The Proof Of Your Love"
If I sing but don't have love
I waste my breath with every song
I bring an empty voice, a hollow noise
If I speak with a silver tongue
Convince a crowd but don't have love
I leave a bitter taste with every word I say
If I give
To a needy soul but don't have love then who is poor?
It seems all the poverty is found in me
So let my life be the proof,
The proof of Your love
Let my love look like You and what You're made of
How You lived, how You died
Love is sacrifice
Oh, let my life be the proof,
The proof of Your love
When it's all said and done
When we sing our final song
Only love remains
Only love remains