Thinking about ourselves is second nature – it's what we do. Every day it's the job, the kids, the to-do list, the meals. We are experts at doing us. Self-preoccupation is not necessarily a sign of selfishness. It's more the pressing of the daily demands of life. We love God and we love people, so why don't we do more to notice the needs of others? Because it takes effort to be aware and alert to the hurts of others. It takes the regular practice of compassion. This week’s devos are created to help us look up and around at the needs of others and respond to the lack in the lives of others. Let the thoughts in the devos provoke your spirit to stay awake to the weak and needy. This week the most powerful thing you can do is to live what you read. Feel free to post the devos or pass them along to others.
“. . . But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him.” Luke 15:20
God is head over heels in love with you. The nature of God’s love for us is outrageous. The first meeting of the prodigal and the father, the wayward son was prepared to recite his repentance speech, but before he could draw a breath to say “I’m sorry,” the father embraced him, kissed him, covered him with a robe and celebrated his return.
For many of us it’s hard to believe in or accept the love of God that Jesus reveals. Perhaps you feel as if God’s love is a nice, spiritual thought, but when it comes to “real life,” God’s love may have never worked out for you. You might even feel as if God doesn’t understand your needs and what you’ve been through. After all, divorce, abuse, addiction and hurt are prevalent realities for many families today.
God doesn’t ration out His love. He gives without reservation. It’s interesting in this parable that forgiveness is given before the son has repented. The father speaks through his actions, “You have my love, you don’t have to pay for it, you only have to receive it.”
Luke 15 describes a very realistic picture of family relationships. The parable shows the hard aspects of family: selfishness, jealousy, rebellion, regret, patience, celebration, unhealthy wants and needs, and ultimately love. If there were ever a picture painted that accurately reflects the dysfunction present in families today, this is it! Jesus really does understand the realities of families. He doesn’t “whitewash” the challenge of family relationships, rather He reflects the brokenness with a clear eye and unnerving insight. Jesus knows, as God knows, the hurt and brokenness present in family relationships. God is aware and feels our unmet needs in family life. In response to our family frustrations and fighting, He loves us lavishly and unsparingly.
The love of God isn’t restrained. He only asks that we accept His love. And once we have accepted it He expects us to behave the same way with each other.
Who can you speak a word of healing and comfort to today? Now go do it!