An Asia-American man wrote this story:
In the mid 90’s my mom and dad, my younger brother and sister and I came to America from Asia. Once we got here, it took a while for us to get settled and learn the language, but our parents tried hard to give us a sense of “home” in this new land.
They were strict with all of us, but we respected our parents. One of the most important things that our parents were concerned about was that we learned to have a strong Catholic faith. The second, that we did our best in school. Along with these things was the constant reminder that we should never do anything to shame the family. And no matter what the other kids or other families thought, we were to be respectful, never use bad language and follow the teachings of Christ.
My parents told us that our grandparents were Catholics who had to suffer much because of what they believed in a land where it was dangerous to even be a Catholic.
During my senior year in high school, unknown to both my parents, I got involved in things that eventually brought trouble into my life. I knew that these things were sinful, but I did them anyway.
One Friday night, I was arrested for rowdy behavior and drunkenness along with the other guys that I was hanging around with. One of my friends started to give the cops a hard time, and so we were handcuffed and they started looking in the car for, not just alcohol, but drugs too.
We were taken to the police station and our parents were called. That’s when things got real quiet. I was still intoxicated and wasn’t looking so good. I prayed that only my father would come to get me, that he’d pay the bail and get me out of here. I didn’t want my mother to see me like this. The other parents came in first and made their anger known to their sons good and loud for all to hear.
When my father came in, he said nothing to me, but the look on his face killed me. I could see that he was so ashamed. I didn’t know what to say to him so I just put my head down. Then it hit me what I’d done; I brought shame to my family and caused my father great pain. Realizing this I just broke down and cried. I hadn’t done that in a long time.
My father paid the bail, the handcuffs were taken off and we started toward the parking lot. At this point I wasn’t even thinking about what punishment the police were going to give me. I was thinking about having to face my mother. I hurt the people I had loved and respected all my life.
When we got home nothing was said to me. No yelling or hitting. My mother had the same look that my father had. I was devastated.
Needless to say, I learned my lesson. Nothing like that ever happened again, but there was always a sense of pain in my heart for what I had done.
Many years after that incident, this is after my own marriage and becoming a parent with three children, we got a call to come to my parents’ house—my mother had died. When the funeral was over and it came time to say good bye to my father, we were alone. He said to me, “Your mother loved you very much, and so do I.” With tears in my eyes I said, “That’s the one thing I knew I could count on.” We hugged and parted.
They were the most memorable words my father ever spoke to me, and, as it turned out, the last words he would ever say to me.
That Asian man is you and me. The father is God. We can say that we are good people as many times as we want, but we still need Christ to rescue us and save us from our sin. This is really what’s at the heart of the Prodigal Son story. It’s about being forgiven when we have sinned and broken the trust. The Asian boy had broken the trust of his family. When we sin, we break the trust between God and ourselves.
Yet the Father’s love is constant, and Jesus leads us back to the Father who deeply loves us. There are times when we need a second chance, and because of that great love, we always get another chance.
In this life, we need to say that we are sorry for our sins—to repent. When we die, we will stand before the presence of God and our lives on earth will be brought before us. And it is Christ who will save us from death.
So, remember, no matter how many times we have sinned, no matter what we have done, when we repent, we are offered forgiveness.
So, remember the cross. Turn to Jesus who rescues us and saves us from our sins.