No one could really say why he ran away. Or perhaps he didnt, but was kicked out of his home by his father for something foolish that he said or did. Either way, Paco found himself wandering the streets of Madrid, Spain, with hopes of entering into a profession that would most likely get him killed bullfighting. Those who train under a mentor have a good chance of surviving this profession, but Pacos memory of his mistakes and guilt over what happened blindly drove him to this one way street to suicide.
But that was the last thing his father wanted, which is why he tried something desperate which he desperately hoped would work. There was little to no chance that he would be able to find Paco by wandering the streets of Madrid, so instead he put an advertisement in the local newspaper El Liberal. The advertisement read, "Paco, meet me at the Hotel Montana at noon on Tuesday. All is forgiven! Love, Papa."
Paco is such a common name in Spain that when the father went to the Hotel Montana the next day at noon there were 800 young men named Paco waiting for their fathers and waiting for the forgiveness they never thought was possible!
Perhaps you are like Paco. You carry a burden of guilt and shame over things you wish you had never said or wish you had never done, and now you wander the strange streets of emotional homelessness thinking that destructive behavior is the answer to the weight that encumbers your soul. Your search for relief doesnt come in the form of bullfighting, but in many ways it is just as perilous. Drugs, alcohol, cutting, and sinful sexual behavior are all killing machines that would love to impale your soul and end your life.
But it doesnt need to be that way. You may feel like your Heavenly Father no longer loves and accepts you. Your guilt may have you convinced that there is no going back to your Daddys embrace, but that is a lie. The truth is that Jesus paid for every sin you committed or ever will commit. He paid with His blood and His life, then He put, not an advertisement, but a promise in the Bible:
Come now, lets settle this, says the LORD. Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, I will make them as white as wool. (Isaiah 1:18)
How does this amazing thing happen? Do I first need to beat myself up, or put myself down? Or do I need to make up for all the bad things by doing all kinds of good things? Do I need to go through life wondering if I really and truly am forgiven?
Yes that is if you are a part of any religion that tells you that you earn forgiveness here on earth and a place in heaven by being good. But thats just another form of bullfighting, because trusting in your own good works for forgiveness has deadly consequences.
The only way to forgiveness is through the Way, the Truth, and the Life (John 14:6). He promised that "if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).
There is no sin so dark that the Light of the world cant chase the shadows of shame away. There is no offense so huge that the God who holds the universe in the palm of His hand cant lift the burden from your soul.
If youre reading this and you feel like Paco, I invite you to consider the words below as words that God is speaking to you at this very minute:
"My child, meet me at the foot of the Cross as soon as you can make it. All is forgiven! Love, Your Heavenly Papa."
Lane Palmer is the Youth Ministries Specialist for Dare 2 Share Ministries in Arvada, Colo., where he works with to provide resources for youth leaders and students. Dare 2 Share exists to energize and equip teens to know, live, share and own their faith in Jesus. For more information on Dare 2 Share Ministries or the GameDay youth conference tour, please visit www.dare2share.org. Send feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org.