“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35 ESV
Some years ago, Ray and I attended a Christmas Pageant at a large church in the Houston, TX area. A modern-day version of the Prodigal Son, this drama production was a powerful story of faith in God, unconditional love, and unrestricted forgiveness.
In spite of their busyness during the Christmas season, and even though they were surrounded by others, the husband and wife in the play were missing one family member. Having chosen a life of sin and rebellion, their oldest son, Michael had left home five years earlier. Living inside a homeless shelter, and with no hope of being reunited with his family again, Michael felt extremely lost and alone.
Of course, back home there was a different outlook on the situation. Michael’s Christian parents and other family members longed for him to come home. The entire family had prayed for his return, and their only desire was to welcome Michael home and make up for the time that had been lost by his absence.
I think I could safely say that all of us have needed new beginnings in our lives at one time or another. We have all needed unconditional love and forgiveness from others; and we have also needed to extend that same love and forgiveness to someone else.
As the story ended, Michael did come home to his family. With God at the center of their lives, Michael’s family gave him the unconditional love and forgiveness that he needed. This act of mercy from his family enabled Michael to have the new beginning that he so desperately wanted.
Today, I pray that each of us will seek whatever new beginning we might need in our own life. Without reservation, may we also be willing to show others the same love and forgiveness that Jesus has shown to each of us. No doubt, we all know someone who needs a new beginning. With God’s help and guidance, let’s do our part to help make it happen for them.