God’s unconditional love
When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’ So he got up and went to his father. “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ Luke 15:17-21
Our Father in heaven loves us and cares for us with “agape” kind of love. “Agape” is how Jesus came to die on the cross to bring us into a right relationship with Him. “This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins” (1 John 4:10). From our text, we are given an image of how to demonstrate “agape” love through the love shown by the Father to the Prodigal Son. In the midst of difficulties, the Father calmly consented to the Prodigal Son’s premature demand for his share of the inheritance. The father didn’t reply with anger to the unappreciative attitude of his son. It must have been painful to the father to have his son treat him this way and yet, he held his tongue and did not retaliate. “Love...does not demand its own way” (1 Corinthians 13:5). The father was aware that his son was headed to ruining his life, but did not intervene. His efforts were focused toward preserving their relationship. He let go of his son and allowed him to live his own life apart from his father. What sorrow he must have had and yet he remained hopeful. He patiently waited for his son to realize that the pursuit of sin will not deliver what it has promised. Waiting is only possible through the power of “agape” love. It is through the working of the Holy Spirit in our life that we are capable to express selfless and sacrificial devotion to the growth of another person. It is only through our experience of God’s “agape” love that we become people who will respond with calmness, without complaint, and with patience. So which kind of reaction do you offer to others—coming from yourself or the power of God’s love that is in you?
Noel De Guzman