Running to Us with Forgiveness
You probably know it as the story of the Prodigal Son found in the Bible in Luke 15--the familiar account of the son who asks his father for his share of the inheritance, goes off and wastes it all and ends up penniless and hungry. Eventually he decides to go home to his father hoping that he can get a job as a hired servant.
In the Middle Eastern Church the story goes by another name: the Story of the Running Father. And that title changes the whole focus of the story.
The father sees his son a long ways off and runs to him, something not usually done by Middle Eastern men. Sherri Gragg points out that
. . . running required men to hike up their robes and expose their legs, … considered…disgraceful.The reason he was running was even more significant. It was a very serious matter for a Jewish young man to lose his family's inheritance in a foreign land. If he did, and he had the gall to actually return to his village, his entire community would then bring him to justice…. From that moment on he was cut off from his family and community ... as if he were dead.
But this father had been watching--and hoping--for his son’s return. So when he saw him, he did what no respected Middle Eastern man would do: he ran to him. And before the boy could give the speech he had prepared, the father embraced him and called for a banquet in his honor.
This, Jesus tells us, is what God is like. Not a calloused judge, but a father running--yes, running toward us to offer forgiveness and restoration. He wants to do the same for you!
 Sherri Gragg, “The Story of the Running Father,” Proverbs 31 Ministries, 5-24-2014.