The parable of the Prodigal Son
The younger brother shows how a person can be far from God by pursuing a life of rebellion, and how God welcomes anyone who comes back to him no matter what they have done or how far they have roamed. But a religious or “good” person can be just as far from God. The younger brother wanted the father’s wealth, but not a relationship with his father. But the older brother also wanted selfish control of his father’s wealth. The younger brother got control by taking his inheritance and running away. The older brother got control by staying home and being very good. The older son refused to enter the celebration of his brother’s return and was angry with his father. His attitude on that day of celebration shows how alienated he was from his father’s heart. He felt that because he had been obedient, he had the right to tell his father what to do with his possessions. Thus he was not lost in spite of his good behavior, but because of his good behavior. He missed the banquet because of his self-righteousness.
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