You remember the story. The father speaks to his oldest son: “My son… you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we have to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.”
The father is concerned about one thing above all others. Life.
Both his sons were the walking dead. Lost, each in his own way.
But one of his boys has confessed, believed, and received his father’s love.
There is an unspoken question left dangling in the air by the father to his oldest son: Will you dare to be loved as I long to love you, or will you insist on being loved as you feel you ought to be loved?
What makes the father’s backyard conversation with his legalistic, judgmental son so incredible is how unfair it is.
What makes the father’s sprint down the sidewalk to his wayward, narcissistic son so amazing is how unfair it is.
Why? Grace is unfair.
If you are like me, you tend to hold up a strainer and say, “I can only receive so much grace at a time.” When we say this, we, in effect, judge God by telling Him how much love we should or should not receive. Or how much grace others should or should not receive.
You walk by a store and see a big sign that says you should stop in because they are offering something for free. You keep walking. “Nothing is free,” you tell yourself. If it’s too good to be true, it’s just too good to be true. In a consumerist society, this seems to be a pretty good principle to live by.
I wonder, however, if this becomes part of our problem when it comes to interacting with God. I wonder if the greatest obstacle to redemption is that we just can’t accept a love and a salvation that are free. It would seem that God has a difficult PR job. The difficulty is in giving Himself away. Not because He is mean or unkind … but because He is simply too good.
When we learn to accept grace—unfair, wild, and inequitable as it can seem sometimes—we learn a little something about redemption. God redeems only those who realize that they cannot make it without Him. This breaking news about God’s love and rescue is called “the gospel.” It seems that the gospel is only good news if we realize we are in need of good news.
Reshape Moment: Regardless of your past, realize there is still hope for your future. Today is a new beginning. Remember, it’s not how you start that matters, it’s how you finish. Accepting the gift of grace enables all of us to finish strong. That is not only good news, it is the best gift you will ever receive.