While he was still a long way off,
his father caught sight of him and was deeply moved.
He ran out to meet him,
threw his arms around his neck, and kissed him.
M is for Mercy. Of all of the characteristics Jesus exhibited, I find mercy to be the most powerful. Though Jesus taught mercy masterfully in his interactions with others, he underscored these lessons with the unforgettable Parable of the Prodigal Son. If any of us question our ability to be lovingly and mercifully forgiven, this story dispels all doubt.
In Jesus’ community, a request for an early inheritance insulted a parent gravely. The offending child essentially demanded, “Behave as though you are dead so I can have my money.” According to the parable, in spite of his son’s selfishness and disregard for his feelings, that father gave his son what he asked. The son responded by leaving town and squandering every cent. When he was left to find work tending swine, the young man had reached rock bottom. In the end, he realized his wrong-doing and returned home to work for his father as a servant. As the above passage from Luke tells us, this father would have none of it. At the sight of his son, mercy and love filled up the man who embraced his child and welcomed him home.
Jesus revealed our loving God in everything he said an did. For me, Jesus revealed God’s essence in this simple story of mercy.
Merciful God, thank you for giving us reason to return from our wrongdoing. Your willingness to forgive us everything and to love us in spite of it all is more than we could ever hope for. Thank you!
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