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True Heart of God

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And get the fatted calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate; for this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found! (Luke 15:23-24 NRSV Bible)

Only Jesus can see the true heart of God. There are many who still have an Old Testament view of God. God is a God of judgement, of vengeance, of wrath.

Maxie Dunnam tells a powerful story that comes from a novel by Alan Paton, the great South African writer. In this story which takes place before the recent changes in South Africa, a white police lieutenant has secretly carried on an relationship with a black African woman. In South Africa that was against the law in every way. It also was an unforgivable sin.

The lieutenant is confronted with the charge by his captain. The lieutenant denies the charge, but the evidence is so overwhelming that he finally confesses. The captain does what might appear to be a strange thing. He goes to visit the lieutenant's father and shares with him his son's transgression. It is a moving and tragic scene.
The father asks the captain, "Is it true?"
The captain replies, "I fear it is true."
The father insists, "Are you sure?"
The captain says, "He confessed to me. It's true."

The father turns to his sister and says, "Bring me the Book." She goes to the bookcase, pulls down the heavy family Bible, takes it to the father, and sets it before him on the table. She wonders what passage he is going to read.

But he doesn't read any passage at all. Instead he opens the front of the book where family names had been recorded for 150 years. He takes the pen and ink and crosses out the name of his son, Pieter van Vlaanderen, not once but many times as though to completely obliterate it from the page. Without any anger or despair (at least that anybody could see), without any words, he does that dramatic task.

Then the father, still sitting at the table, turns to his sister and says, "Lock the door, and bolt it, and bring me the key. The door of our house will never open again." That's the scene. The door is closed forever. The son can never return home.

In the family of God the prodigal can always come home. The door is never locked. Why? Because Jesus showed us the heart of God. With his own shed blood he showed us how much God cares about sinners.


Dear Jesus, thank you for showing me the true heart of God. In Jesus name, Amen.

Ron Newhouse
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