For many years when I heard the story of the prodigal or lost son in church, I identified with the self-righteous jerk of the older brother. Of course I didn’t see him as a self-righteous jerk then. I happened to agree with him. I thought it was “unfair” that the father threw a party for the younger son. I thought the younger son should have been punished for what he did. You see, I identified with the cultural belief that sins or mistakes should be punished. And that one earned God’s or parental love by being good and taking your punishment when you deserved it. I know I worked very hard at being good to earn that love because I didn’t feel loved the way I was.
Those were the cultural beliefs that I had learned from my family, my church, and the people around me.
I learned this in part by getting big red X’s on all of the wrong answers on my school
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