One day, a ragged drifter blistered by the sun, barefoot and bloody staggered into the city center. His father, the CEO of a successful company, peered out his office window and recognized the staggerer. He left his desk, took the elevator to the ground floor and ran toward his son. His expensive shoes kicked up dust onto his designer suit.
The father’s assistants gazed at the scene from the windows of their posh office and one sighed, “The old man’s lost his mind.”
“He’s a fool for that no-good kid of his,” said the other.
Face to face in the crowded square, the father threw open his arms and embraced his son. He knelt on the pavement and wept, “at last you’ve come home.”
The son tried to blurt out that he was sorry for squandering his inheritance and living like an idiot. But the father shushed him and said, “all is forgiven.”
The son tried again. “I didn’t mean the things I said.” When he’d left home to live a free and better life, he’d screamed in anger – I wish you were dead.
“It’s all forgiven,” repeated the father, “all of it.”
When an assortment of losers, thieves, low-lives, dummies and rebels asked, ‘what is God like,’ Jesus told them a story similar to this one. And they got the message.
The message: God kisses sinners with forgiveness. He loves to the point of foolishness. He watches for our return long after everyone has given up hope. He forgives before we ask. He loves us before we are able to love Him.
What is God like? “God is love.” (I John 4:16)
(For Jesus’ story see Luke 15 )