Is it possible to find truth outside our tradition? In the following story, what is similar to how the Bible pictures God and the gospel? Who is the minister? Where did I read this story?
A woman wasted her last decade addicted to heroin. She did not care where she got her next fix, just so long as she got it. Now she lay dying of AIDS.
One day a young minister making his rounds at the community hospital came upon her, thin and yellow with liver failure. He sat down by the bedside. “How are you?”
“I’m lost. I’ve ruined my life and every life around me. There is no hope for me; I’m going to hell.”
The minister sat quietly for a few moments. Then he noticed a framed picture of a pretty girl on the dresser. “Who is that?”
The woman brightened a little. “She’s my daughter, the one beautiful thing in my life.”
“Would you help her if she were in trouble or had made a mistake? Would you forgive her? Would you still love her?”
“Of course I would! I would do anything for her! She will always be precious and beautiful to me. Why do you ask such a question?”
“Because I want you to know,” said the minister, “that God has a picture of you on his dresser.”
“I will set out and go back to my father and say to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’”
But the father said to his slaves, “Quickly bring out the best robe and put it on him; put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet; bring the fattened calf, kill it, and let us eat and celebrate; for this son of mine was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found.”