Focal Passage: Luke 15:11-32
I recently read a story from a book of illustrations published in 1931 by Harper & Brothers that illustrates the power of God’s love and forgiveness.
The story begins when young John Maynard was attending an old time country school house.
During most of the early days of that school year John was careless with his work. However, during midwinter, the teacher inspired John to take a new start, and he became a distinctly different student making up for his earlier failures.
As the final exams were taken John did exceptionally well. At the end of the year all the parents were invited to the classroom to see their child’s notebook.
When John saw his mom begin to look through his notebook he remembered all those dreary poor marks from earlier in the year. His heart sank as the realities of his past failures were to be known to his parents.
Surprisingly, his mother seemed well pleased with John’s work and invited his father to look with her. Afterwards, John found out that his kind teacher had thoughtfully torn out all those bad pages from his notebook and made it begin where he started to do better.
When I think about that story I am reminded that when a person is willing to repent of his sin and turn to Jesus, our heavenly Father offers a fresh beginning and promises to blot out those old sins and make our record begin with a new start.
I believe our lesson this week also clearly teaches us that God is willing to forgive us of our sin and forget our past failures if we truly repent. Many of us, however, can’t seem to get over our past failures.
Either we think we are too bad for God to forgive us or we don’t understand God’s mercy and grace. If that is you, spend time studying the Parable of the Prodigal Son.
The parable speaks volumes about the depth of God’s love – a love that can freely be yours if you will turn back to Him.