51: Caricatures

Caricatures are usually comical with their EXAGGERATIONS.
– Huge chins, protruding ears, massive heads on scrawny bodies.

But the caricatures I’ve seen of God aren’t so comical. In fact, He looks GROTESQUE, like a monster. I’ve seen sketches of Him with…
– a huge fist – just waiting to strike you down
– bulging eyes – always pointing out your faults
– a deep scowlsucking out all the joy in life
– a sneering judge with upraised gavelARBITRARILY pardoning some and condemning others

But these are NOT EXAGGERATIONS. They are MISREPRESENTATIONS. God isn’t like that.

To describe God accurately, Jesus told a story about a boy’s father. You may have read it in Luke 15 in the Bible. The boy is often called the Prodigal Son. I am retelling this story from the boy’s perspective.

I was the younger son…I was bored with life on the farm. I couldn’t stand it any longer! I wanted ADVENTURE.

I demanded dad give me my part of the inheritance NOW. I took the cash and ran off to the big city.
Finally, life was exciting…thrilling…till the money ran out…then my friends ran out.

The only job I could find was feeding pigs.
The day their slop started looking tasty was my day of clarity.
I realized I had been selfish and had brought deep grief to my dad.
With my tail between my legs, I headed back home to beg dad’s forgiveness…and ask for a job.

You’ll never guess what happened. As I crested the rise near our farm, I saw my dad in the distance. Instantly he started running toward me. I didn’t know what to expect, but I braced myself for a lecture… I knew I DESERVED one.

But I wasn’t prepared for what happened next…
Smiling from ear to ear, dad gave me a crushing bear hug.

I choked out the words, “Dad, I’ve sinned against you and God. I’m no longer worthy to be your son.”

Before I could ask for a job, he shouted to his hired hands, “Bring my son fresh clothes and prepare a feast. We’re going to CELEBRATE that my son is home!”

No lecture. No shame. No belittling. No chewing me out. He didn’t make me beg or grovel.

He just loved me and was glad I came home.

THAT is what God is like! … Full of mercy and compassion.

To remove any doubt as to His character, God sent Christ from His throne in heaven to live among us. Jesus did so in order to show us what God is like. In fact, our Bibles declare in Hebrews 1:3, “The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the EXACT REPRESENTATION of His being.” Jesus is not a caricature. He’s the perfect picture of God.

Like the father in this story, with open arms Jesus Christ welcomes every sinner who repents and comes to Him.

Unlike the father in this story, it was on a CROSS that Jesus Christ spread out His arms to prove His love for you.

Marlon Furtado

I regularly went to church as a boy, but I was not exposed to the Gospel until I was nearly twenty years old. Hearing that God loved me in spite of my behavior was new to me. In response, I received Jesus Christ and became one of His followers on September 12, 1971. I practiced chiropractic for eight years before becoming a pastor from 1986 to 2018.