The Father’s Love.
I learned of a Fathers love a bit later in life. While my dad was a good provider, he struggled with demonstrating true fatherly love. His father was not a good role model since he had not showed my dad the affections of a loving father. Once my dad came to know Jesus Christ as his Lord and savior, he experienced the unconditional love of Jesus. Subsequently, after reading and absorbing God’s love in scripture and experiencing his Christian wife’s unconditional love, he was able to express fatherly love to his children.
I am reminded of the story of the prodigal son [Luke 15:11-32]. The narrative depicts two sons who walk very different roads during their early seasons of life. The first son convinces his father to cash in his share of his dad’s estate. Using the proceeds, the son embarks on a cross country journey of uninhibited, wild living. Meanwhile, the second son showed restraint by not asking for his portion of the estate and faithfully worked by his father’s side.
Not long after leaving, the first son had squandered his wealth and became homeless and destitute. Out of options, he decides to humble himself and travel back to his father’s home. The son had time to reflect on his poor decisions during the trip back home and probably rehearsed a long-winded speech for his father which illustrated his total and complete repentance. As the son made his way onto his father’s property, the father recognizes him from afar and comes running to him, arms stretches outward. As they embrace, the son commences his practiced speech but his father interrupts and exclaims to everyone, “this son of mine was dead and is alive again! Let us celebrate!”
As you can imagine, the second obedient son was stunned and positively irate. He expressed his anger to his father and refused to join in any celebration honoring his brother. His father’s response is one of the greatest portrayals of love in scripture. To paraphrase, he says: Son – you are and have always been here with me. I love you and everything I own is yours. However, today, this brother of yours who was living in sin and dead has been found alive. Let’s celebrate his life and show him our love, regardless of his past behavior.
The dad’s response succinctly displays the absolute unconditional love that our heavenly Father has for us. This type of love is mutually exclusive from our worldly performance. God wants the very best for us. While sin doesn’t displace God’s love for us, it sidetracks us from achieving the best He has for our lives and the fruit that follows righteous living. 1 Peter 4:8 instructs us to love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.
Fortunately, perfection is not a requirement. Romans 3:23 tell us that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Yes, we fall short but God loves us regardless. Don’t believe the lies of the enemy. He will attempt to erode your self-worth and seduce you into a life of sin. God refutes this lie by covering our sin with His agape love, just like the father of the prodigal son.
If you are reading these words and you have never experienced a father’s unconditional love, I encourage you to dig into scripture and read about the author of love, Jesus. He is the one who created us to love and to be loved. 1 John 4:8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.