Recently a friend shared with me a YouTube video in which Billy Graham’s daughter, Ruth Graham, was interviewed by Glenn Beck. In the video, Ruth talks about a failed marriage. She was a bit hasty in this relationship and her parents advised her not to marry the man. But she married him anyway. Immediately she realized she had made a mistake. She wound up leaving him and headed home. It was a two day drive, which meant she had a lot of time to fret along the way. Many fears and questions ran through her head regarding what her parents might say to her.
But when Ruth arrived home, her father (Billy Graham) was standing outside, he hugged her, and he said, “Welcome home.” There was no condemnation. He didn’t say I told you so. He wasn’t angry or upset about her mistake. There was only love and grace. And Ruth said that grace changed her life.
What a beautiful picture of the love between a father and child. (Or any relationship.) What an awesome representation of the love of Jesus. And what a stunning reminder of how our Heavenly Father loves us.
This made me think of the story of the lost son, or who many people refer to as the prodigal son, found in Luke 15: 11-24:
Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons. The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them.
“Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.
“When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’ So he got up and went to his father.
“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. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.”
This is the way that God loves each of us. No matter what we have done and no matter where we have been, He still longs for us to return home to Him. Don’t be afraid to take that step into the arms of God. He is there ready and waiting for you with love.
And I pray that you and I always show others this kind of love, the love of Jesus. In John 13:34-35, Jesus said, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” As followers of Jesus, we have a responsibility. So I pray that we each can love others with this same love, just as Jesus commanded. Every day we encounter people who are hurting, people who have made mistakes, and people who are lost. May we seek to extend this same grace and love to all those around us.
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