In the story we are following that Jesus told to explain what His Father, our true Father, is really like we read that the father not only embraced his boy [last blog], he also kissed him. As a reminder, you can find the story in the Bible in Luke chapter 15.
The Demonstrative Father
The word ‘kissed’ represents the last in a rush of verbs. Very quickly, the dad is described as seeing, then running, then embracing before finally kissing. The kiss is the climatic moment in a welcome home that involves no words at all.
To the people who first heard Jesus tell this story [Jewish people in the first century] this was radical behavior. Outrageous, surprising forgiveness at every turn. There are three reasons the kiss was such a surprise.
First, the son should have fallen at his father’s feet and kissed them to show his repentance. We will never know if that was his plan because the father got their first. He fell on the boy’s neck and kissed his son repeatedly.
Secondly, it is surprising again because of the culture it happened in. Such a kiss could only mean one thing, that the father was now reconciled to his son. When two disputing parties came to be reconciled, they would seal their new unity with a public display of affection like this. The public kiss of the father was his way of saying to the accusing villagers, ‘we have made up’!
Thirdly, it is surprising because the father doesn’t know whether his son is even repentant. He embraces the boy and kisses his boy UNCONDITIONALLY! To those of us who think we have screwed up too badly for God to forgive, read that again. The mere fact that he has come home is enough to justify this uninhibited display of love. Whether the boy is sorry for what he has done is irrelevant to the father. His boy was home!
A Parent’s Touch
This kind of intimate parental behavior is extremely rare in our culture. Many children have never known the holy, loving touch of a father. And the consequences can be psychologically and spiritually devastating.
I have listened to many adults who never knew the kind of parental affection we see in the father in our story. Far too many have never known a father’s intimacy. They have either missed it or have only known a perversion of it, in the form of physical or sexual abuse.
If that’s you, please know your heavenly Father is not like this at all and that He’s the dad you’ve been looking and longing for all your life.
This story Jesus told proves that our heavenly Father is not like many earthly fathers. Our heavenly Father is a loving, affectionate and tender Father who can be trusted. His touch is always kind and pure. His kisses are like the kisses of the father in our story; holy and intimate.
Why Has This Been Such a Secret?
The reason is because God is misrepresented by many people, and most often by the leaders of our churches. He has been depicted a distant and angry. Many people, having had painful experiences of being fathered, project their own fathers onto God. They transfer the wounds from their father onto God and consequently see Him as distant, abusive, unreliable, unavailable, critical, rejecting or cold.
BUT… God is a loving Father – the most loving Father in the universe. And His desire is that you come home and experience His affectionate embrace.
Our Love Cup
Everyone you meet, including yourself, is like a love cup. We are all walking around this planet trying to get our love cup filled up. We all have a love deficit. Depending on what has happened to you in your life, you may have a fairly full cup or a cup that is almost empty. Everyone’s quest is to get their love cup filled. That’s natural and understandable.
The problem is, however, that we look to other people to fill our cup from their cup at the same time they are trying to get theirs filled. Are you staying with me?
Until a person gets their love cup filled, it is impossible for them to help you fill yours. It’s not that they won’t; it’s that they can’t. It’s like you needing $100 but all I have is $20. It doesn’t matter that I really want to give you the $100 if I only have $20 in my pocket. I can't give you what I don't have.
Problem is, we don’t see it as not able but rather as not wanting. And the level in our cup shrinks a little more. That’s everyone you meet. Sounds desperate.
The good news is… there is One who has enough love to fill all our cups until they are overflowing! But it’s not another person, it’s God. He’s the only One. Trying to find it in another human being will leave you disappointed and hurt. The story we are looking at should convince you that ‘filling your cup’ is the very thing your Father wants to do for you.
God created us with a need to be loved, a need for intimacy. Until we let Father fill our hearts [cups] with His love, there will always be a love deficit in our lives. We will always seek in other people what we can only find in the Father.
Will you Accept the Kiss of God’s Forgiveness?
Will you reciprocate by worshiping the Father from this day on, by approaching Him to embrace and kiss Him? The Bible says, ‘Draw close to God, and God will draw close to you’. He is longing for relational intimacy with you.
Don’t settle for second-hand religion. Settle for reality and relationship and love.