In the Broadway play, A Raisin in the Sun, a father dies and is survived by his wife, a son and a daughter. Each one of them has a different idea about how to use the inheritance from the father’s death.
The widowed wife wants to buy a new home. The daughter sees it as an opportunity for her to go to medical school.
The son wants to go into business with a friend. The son persuades them to see it his way. "Don’t you see," he says to his mother and sister, "if I take this money I can do all these things for you." So, the son gets the money, and gives it to his friend to start their business. His dream is smashed when the friend absconds with the money and skips town.
Now the son has to tell his mother and sister that all the money is lost. Their reactions are interesting. The mother responds sympathetically. She hugs her son, rubs his neck and says, "Honey, I know you feel so bad!"
The sister is astonished and asks the mother, "How can you love him after what he has done? He doesn’t deserve to be loved!"
That’s the reaction a lot of people have to the gospel. It’s hard to believe that God forgives us and loves us after everything we’ve done.
Listen to how the mother in A Raisin in the Sun replies to her daughter’s harshness:
"Honey, when do you think is the time to love somebody? Is it when they get a big promotion? Is it when they’re successful? Is it when all their investments pay off? Is that the time you love somebody? Honey, the time to love someone is when they are down and out. The time to love someone is when they’ve made a mistake in their life and they feel bad. The time to love somebody is when they have nobody to reach out to. The time to love somebody is when life has whipped and beaten them. That’s the time to love somebody."
Isn’t that exactly what God does? Jesus described the Father’s love for us in these words:
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son" (John 3:16-18).
When we believe and embrace God’s love, we have new life in Jesus Christ. Our fear, our grief and our anguish about all our failures are lifted off our shoulders and we can rest in his love, knowing we’re clean and forgiven and accepted and loved. And knowing we are safe in his loving embrace, we can extend his love to those around us.
It’s a new life, a life of believing what God has done for us through Jesus Christ, and there’s nothing else like it.
This article is derived from Speaking of Life, a weekly video program presented by Joseph Tkach on the Grace Communion International website. You can watch it online, listen online, or download the video, audio, or text. For all these options, go to www.speakingoflife.org