It was spring break 1996 and I was a sophomore in high school. While other kids were taking family trips or watching March Madness action, I was in the streets because I ran away from home. Again.
Another Broken Promise to My Parents
Less than three months before, after stealing money from my parents, missing Christmas with them, and being apprehended by the police, I promised I’d never run away again. As it was my habit, I broke that promise and felt I could never return home. I stayed away until my hunger for food and need for clean clothes drove me back home one night.
Breaking and Entering My Own House
I broke into the house and skillfully sauntered into the kitchen to surprisingly find a plate with pizza left out for me! Puzzled by the indirect hospitality, I interpreted this act of kindness as a threat. I felt I was being lured into a trap. Wanting to avoid a confrontation with folks, I scarfed down the pizza in record time before covertly entering my bedroom to get clean clothes.
After putting a few outfits into a gym bag I made my way towards the front door in anticipation of a clean getaway. I was less than 20 feet away when a series of florescent post-it notes caught my attention and stopped me dead in my tracks.
On each note was hand-written plea from my mother for me to return home! She wrote new note everyday I was gone to remind me, with each new day came a new opportunity for me to be welcomed back!
The Breaking of My Own Heart
Tears began welling up in my eyes. A barrage of emotions intersected with my entire being. In that moment, I desperately wanted to walk up to their bedroom door, knock on it, and tell them I was sorry for all I had done. I wanted to be done with my life of sin and I wanted them to know it.
Yet, I had said that all before and failed to live up to my profession. I felt they wouldn’t believe me and assumed they would treat me like a stranger instead of a son. Wiping my eyes and grabbing my bag, I headed out the front door.
The Breaking of Our Silence
After tossing and turning on a friends couch all night, I decided to test the waters of forgiveness the next morning by calling my mom at work. I confessed I wanted to come home and she lovingly assured me I would be welcomed back. Immediately I pushed back by reminding her of all that wrong I had done and she responded by challenging me to believe her admission of my acceptance.
After spending a few hours wandering through the streets, I decided to go home. I walked up to the front door and like an uninvited stranger knocked. Within seconds my brother opened the door, greeted me with a smile and said, “Welcome home.” After being embraced by he and the rest of our family I knew I’d never run away again…and I never did! Two days later, I gave my heart to the Lord.
The Realest Reconciliation
My personal story of reconciliation is but a mere snapshot of the powerful reality awaiting those who respond to God’s call “come home”. If you’re reading this and you feel like you’ve done too much or gone too far, trust me when I say you haven’t. Reconciliation is the “restoration of friendly relationships and of peace where before there had been hostility and alienation.”
- All of us were born separated from God because of our sin (Isaiah 59:2)
- Our sinfulness caused us to become enemies of God Yet, because of Christ’s work on the cross, we who have embraced Him as Lord and Savior have been reconciled to God (Romans 5:6-10).
- The shed blood of Christ allows us to have forgiveness for all of our sins (Eph 1:7)
- The God we’ve been reconciled to is our loving Father who is faithful and just to forgive (1 John 1:8-10)
Instead of running from Him, run to Him. Receive His love. Take it from me, life on the run is “all good” for nobody. According to 2 Cor 5:19, it’s my privilege to extend to you, from your Father, an invitation to come home and be reconciled.
Published March 24, 2015