Astonishing Love

Astonishing Love

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A devastating tornado and a shocking murder. The last things any of us would ever want to experience.

And yet as the following video clip illustrates, it was in the midst of such great suffering that a family from Iowa demonstrated astonishing love. I pray that God will use this true story to change how you respond when somehow has deeply wounded you … or simply hurt your feelings. (If video screen does not appear below, click here.)

Debrief

Ed Thomas taught his family well. As his son said, “Dad always taught us to lead by example. If we’re going to tell others to reach out and support the Beckers, and we’re not doing it, that’s not very good character.”

And lead they did. Their example of compassion for the Becker family inspired their entire community to reach out to the Beckers and demonstrate that they were deeply loved in spite of their son’s dreadful actions.

The Thomas’s actions provide a vivid illustration of the character qualities that mark Christians as the children of God, as those who bear his family image:

“Be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as light in the world, holding fast to the word of life” (Phil. 2:15-16).

“Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing” (1 Pet. 3:8-9).

Watch and Grow

What about you? Are you leading your family, friends, and co-workers by this kind of example?

When others deeply wrong you—or simply slight or disappoint you—do you “shine as light”? Do you model the sympathy, love, and forgiveness that God poured out through the Thomas family?

If not, dwell more on the gospel of Christ. Mediate on the amazing news that in response to our innumerable sins, God sent his Son into the world not to condemn us, but to pay for our sins with his own precious blood, so that we might be reconciled forever to God (John 3:16).

Then let your awareness of God’s astonishing love overflow in your relationships, marking you as one who has been saved and transformed by his grace.

– Ken Sande

Follow up report 10 years after these events.

Permission to distribute: Please feel free to download, print, or electronically share this message in its entirety for non-commercial purposes with as many people as you like.

© 2013 Ken Sande

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One Response to "Astonishing Love"
  1. So compelling, my heart broke and rejoiced at the same time! What an example of Christ’s love, mercy and grace the Thomas family showed the Beckers. Sadly, I usually find myself in the throws of my emotions. I pray God used this course to help teach me self-control in that area.

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