How do we miss in this story the picture of the Father that is not measuring by performance? Well, I can only speak from the perspective of someone shaped by our American culture, but I think it comes close to answering that question for us. Our culture teaches us that it is all about performance. Perform and you are good....don't perform and you are bad. I really think the truth is as simple as all cultures do the same. It's human nature. Maybe it is caused by the fact that we are left trying to figure out good and evil?
I've been a successful performer all of my life in just about everything I set out to do. I see more clearly today than ever that it means nothing. I'm not joking either. It means nothing.
I believe this Father is after one thing and it is all that matters. To set us free. Without that, nothing else matters. Whether it is a pile of so called successes or a pile of so called failures.
When the younger son took the money and headed off the farm to live it up and the older son stayed on the farm thinking he was making better choices, the reality was, one wasn't making a better choice than the other. That is, in the thing that matters. Doesn't the Father's treatment of them both prove that? This story never makes sense to those who are measuring by performance. The world and those that live according to the world's standards know nothing but pointing out the good ones and praising them, and pointing out the bad ones and punishing them.
Father clearly is after freedom.
The best the world can do is praise conformity and punish non conformity.
Question is, who do we trust?
Falsehood has an infinity of combinations,
But truth has only one mode of being.
Jean Jacques Rousseau