The father was wealthy; the son was both restless and rebellious. For whatever reasons, they clashed and struggled and fought until the son concluded, in the end, that he couldn't live at home anymore. Without word or warning or explanation, he disappeared.
It didn't take long for regret to steal over the father and clear his vision. He saw that he'd been wrong. He'd pushed too hard. Yes, the son had erred against him in hurtful ways and said things no son should say to his father. But he was still his son, and no offense could numb the ache caused by his absence.
The father searched. He looked down alleys and walked through the marketplace and checked places he hoped his boy hadn't ventured into. After five months of searching, he made one last, desperate effort. He went to the largest newspaper in Madrid and paid for a full-page ad, which read:
Meet me in front of this newspaper's main office at noon on Saturday. All is forgiven. I love you.
On Saturday, in front of the newspaper office, over 800 Pacos showed up ... each looking for love and forgiveness from their fathers.
The world is full of Pacos looking for forgiveness. We who have already received ours need to share the message that freed us from our shame and guilt.
For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people's sins against them. This is the wonderful message he has given us to tell others. We are Christ's ambassadors, and God is using us to speak to you. We urge you, as though Christ himself were here pleading with you, "Be reconciled to God!" --2 Cor 5:19-20 (NLT)