What do Lutherans mean by “grace alone”? It means to know that we are at peace with God because of God, as the Bible says: There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.
Whenever I hear of a family struggling with a loved one becoming estranged from God, my heart breaks because we’ve all probably seen this situation either in our immediate families or our extended families. But I’m immediately drawn to these endearing words of our Savior in the parable of the prodigal son. In this parable, you can see that it’s ok to love our loved ones from a distance, like the father that Jesus describes in this parable.
Life can get ugly; our life can get messy; sin and sinful desires are what we all battle, even the strongest of Christians; sometimes we triumph over temptation with Christ’s help; sometimes we don’t; and I don’t want to undermine the seriousness of "when we don’ts" by giving the impression that sin is not something serious in the life of God’s people because it is. But sin has been defeated by Jesus when he came to this world as God’s ambassador on our behalf.