What Love Can Achieve

One day, Dwight Moody received a letter with the following request: 

“Mr. Moody, would you come to the prison tomorrow morning at 10 o’clock? A prisoner is being released who is all alone in this world. Perhaps you can do something for him. But we want to warn you that his appearance is terrifying. Even his fellow inmates want nothing to do with this man.” 

Moody was immediately willing to take care of this matter. The next morning, he went to the prison. At exactly 10:00, the prisoner was released. Moody immediately felt deep compassion for this man. He approached him, patted him on the shoulder, and asked kindly, “Dear friend, how are you?” 

The man replied harshly, “What nonsense, calling me friend! I have no friend, and you are not my friend either!” 

“And yet you are my friend,” Moody assured him, “and I will prove it to you. Look, you have had breakfast, but where will you get something for lunch? Here is some money for lunch, and I invite you to my house for dinner. My wife will welcome you warmly. Here is my address.” The man took the money but did not promise to appear that evening. 

Evening came. In Moody’s house, the table was set for his family, as well as for this criminal. Everything had been arranged as nicely and comfortably as one would do for a dear guest. In a small side room, water to wash, a towel, a brush, and a comb had been set out. Just as they finished all the preparations, the doorbell rang. Indeed, the man had come! 

Moody went to the door himself and brought his unusual guest inside. Moody prayed at the table, as he always did. When the meal was over, the little daughter asked, “Papa, may I sit on your lap now?” 

“Of course,” said the father and took his child on his lap. Then he whispered something in her ear. A slight look of surprise crossed the little girl’s face, but then she slipped off her father’s knee and cautiously approached the stranger. A bit fearfully, she reached out her hand to him, but shortly afterward, she suddenly threw her arms around the stranger’s neck and gave him a kiss. 

The criminal sat there for a moment, as if paralyzed. Then he put his hands over his face; his head bowed down to the table, and he began to cry heart-wrenchingly. 

Through the love that Moody showed this man and through the trust of a child, the defiant resistance in the heart of a hardened sinner was broken. He experienced the saving power of Jesus and became, as the Bible says, “a new creation.” This man later became a co-worker of Moody, preaching the gospel convincingly. 

This story shows us the power of love. But it is not the natural, human love that has such strength. It is the power of the love of Jesus, as described by the Apostle Paul in the “song of love” (1 Corinthians 13). 

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