Read Luke 15:11-32

You were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.—1 Corinthians 6:11 (NIV)

As part of my pastoral responsibilities at a local hospital, I was called to the bedside of an elderly woman. I found her shouting out in anguish to Jesus and then to me. She had been diagnosed with a brain hemorrhage and was afraid she would die and not go to heaven. When I asked the reason for her fear, she explained that her sins were just too great.

I reminded her of the parable of the prodigal son and how our Father in heaven will welcome us back with open arms. She told me she was afraid it was too late. I assured her that if Jesus could forgive the thief on the cross next to him, the same is true of all of us. We then prayed together, and a great peace seemed to come over her. When I saw her again the next morning, she took my hand and said that she knew she was forgiven and welcomed back by God.

No matter what sins we may have committed, whether we are coming to Christ for the first time or returning to God like the prodigal son, we don’t have to be afraid that our sins are too great. Instead, we can reach out to our Father and remember that God forgives and welcomes us with open arms.

Prayer—Dear Father, remind us that it is never too late to turn to you. Help us to be open to receive your love and forgiveness. Amen.

Thought for the day—It is never too late to seek God’s forgiveness.

—Scott Martin, New Jersey