I frequently fall into the belief that I can earn a successful relationship with God and true forgiveness and fulfillment. In the Parable of the Prodigal Son, the father doesn’t acknowledge the younger son’s protests of his unworthiness. It’s not what the boy has or has not done that makes him the man’s son and warrants fatherly love; it’s who he is. The Good News of the Gospel is that we don’t have to strive to earn forgiveness, grace, or worthiness because they are gifts that are freely given.
I am unfathomably loved, persistently sought after, and graciously forgiven and blessed by God because of who I am—his creation, his daughter—not because of anything I’ve done. Striving to be worthy of his abundant forgiveness will spiritually and emotionally exhaust me. It’s not our struggle to rack up points toward value that God is after; it’s our hearts.