Devotion: The Welcome Home Hug

“While he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.”

Luke 15:20

This year’s Super Bowl featured the two Kelce brothers. Travis got to add a 2nd Superbowl ring to his hand and a touchdown in the game, while Jason – the older brother – fought it out in the trenches only to experience the pain of defeat. What caught my attention after the game is that the mother of Travis and Jason intentionally sought out her losing son first. She embraced him, consoling him. Watch the clip above and notice Jason’s reaction the moment he recognizes her (formatting is weird, follow the “watch again on insta” link to appreciate the moment). She did the work of a parent in that moment – she went towards the pain.

It reminds me of the story of the prodigal son in Luke 15, where the father runs towards his wayward son and throws his arms around him. Jesus adds such detail to that poignant scene. He does not wait for his son to arrive at home, make his speech and demonstrate a changed behavior. The father— filled with compassion— charges out of his door to meet him. He does not meet him half-way either; he meets him while he is still a long way off.

Compassion is a combo of two greek words that mean to Suffer-With. Showing compassion means were are willing to suffer with someone. To move towards their pain.

This is the picture Jesus uses to describe our Heavenly Father’s love for us. He is not waiting for us to return; He comes to us. He pursues us. He embraces us. In doing so, we are invited to do it to others.

While Billy Graham is one of the most influential men in modern Christian history, the story that most captivates me about him has nothing to do with a sermon he preached, a stadium he filled or a president he counseled. This story shared by his daughter at his funeral embodies a man who understands the power of Radical Love displayed through the welcome home hug.

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