“Practicing forgiveness not only saves families from divisiveness, but makes them capable of helping society to be less heartless and less cruel. Yes, each act of forgiveness fixes the cracks in the house and strengthens its walls.”
I remember a couple of years ago, our second daughter, Katie, was going through a particularly prickly patch during which she would not get her way, throw a fit, and then declare she was running away. She would march her then 7-year-old body defiantly out the front door and across our cul-de-sac to a neighbor’s tree. I basically invented the "dramatic exit" as a child, so this had zero effect on me. For the first few times I just sat in the front room of our house keeping one eye on her under that tree. As the episode repeated into the double digits, I felt more and more free to leave Katie under her tree and attend to something deeper inside the house. As I read the Gospel of the Prodigal Son with my men’s group this week to get ready for Sunday, one of the guys picked up on the phrase, "While he was still a long way off, his father caught sight of him…He ran to his son." We spent a lot of time talking about how God the Father is searching for us, looking for us, running to meet us, all we need to do is turn in His direction. I spent a lot of time thinking about Katie under that tree.
In my life and leadership, for whom am I keeping a lookout? Whether it’s people who have hurt me or disappointed me or grown distant from me, am I making it more difficult for them to find me or am I trying to go more than halfway to meet them on their return? How hard do we make people work to come back into our embrace? If in our relationship with the Lord, all we need is to turn and face Him, why do we set up hurdles for others? Katie no longer runs to her tree, but there are still plenty of "dramatic exits" as we enter into tweenage-dom. The question shouldn’t be how will she find her father when she returns, but rather how will her father find her? Prayers for your lookout this week as we seek to be people who go more than halfway to bring people home.