Most of us have little problem admitting our sinfulness. Our failures can be easily recognized. Many times, though, we focus on the what of sin instead of looking more deeply into the why. Sinful behavior can be an easy target that allows us to ignore a condition of the heart that needs tending to. Because we feel unworthy of love, we move away from healing and consequently are more likely to harm others. Sinful behavior, then, can be both symptom and side effect of brokenness. I (and all of us) bear a trajectory similar to that of the son in our parable.
A litany of addictions, deep- seated shame, extravagant living, wasteful spending, sexual promiscuity, to name a few—these and other forms of sabotage represent a rebellion from what is good, a sprint away from love, a fear of hope, an exodus from the glory available to us. The energy behind running away is a commitment to relief and a refusal of sorrow and struggle.
What purpose has been served by your own pursuit of pleasure or avoidance of pain? Can you identify the deeper longings that might lie beneath “running away”?
This is Day 1 of Overcoming Shame and Self-contempt which is Part 1 of How God's Love Changes Us: three reading plans based on The Prodigal Son Parable. All three plans are based on Andrew Bauman's book Stumbling Toward Wholeness. Learn more about the book here.