"So he returned home to his father. And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him. For this son of mine was dead and has now returned to life. He was lost, but now he is found." Luke 15:20, 24a (NLT)
As we celebrated Father's Day earlier this month, I reflected on the men in my life I call "Father." I think of my father and father-in-law, both unique men who have been very generous, have an outstanding work ethic, are very loving and are always willing to help others in need, even to this day. I think of my grandfather, a man I greatly admired. A man of few words, but those words spoke volumes of wisdom. He was a man of character and integrity. Then I reflect on my "Heavenly Father." A Father that is full of grace and mercy. A Father who loves us unconditionally and forgives us of our sins. The attributes and adjectives used to describe our "Heavenly Father" are endless.
I reflect on my life as a father. I think of the mistakes I've made over the years and how my family has always extended love and forgiveness. What comes to your mind when you think of the word "father"? What type of legacy do you want to leave? How will your family remember you?
I'm reminded of a recent story I came across.
In July of 2008, John Smith stood before a crowd of people at Pontiac Central High School in Pontiac, Michigan to lead them as they started a new church. Twenty-two years earlier, at the age of 14, he was expelled from that same school for selling drugs. The church planter couldn't help but note the ironly as he reflected on how his life spiraled out of control two decades before. He left home and eventually ended up in a Florida jail. When John's father learned of his incarceration, he drove 1,100 miles to get him out and tell him of His love. This Christian man told his prodigal son, "You don't have to come home, but if you want to come home after I get you out of here, I forgive you of everything you did, and you can come back home, and we can start over." Although Smith would reject his father's words that day, he ultimately received that promise as one of the most important lessons in his life. John repented and later returned to his home church and God changed his life. He is now the pastor of a new church in the school from which he was expelled with his father in the congregation.
A father's words of grace and forgiveness are incredibly powerful. Life is short; don't let anything keep you from loving and forgiving others.
Posted on Wed, June 29, 2011
by Keith Knight