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Luke 15:11-17a: “11 And he said, “There was a man who had two sons. 12 And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of property that is coming to me.’ And he divided his property between them. 13 Not many days later, the younger son gathered all he had and took a journey into a far country, and there he squandered his property in reckless living. 14 And when he had spent everything, a severe famine arose in that country, and he began to be in need. 15 So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed pigs. 16 And he was longing to be fed with the pods that the pigs ate, and no one gave him anything. 17 “But when he came to himself…”

Starting at a young age, I was frequently getting in trouble. As the younger brother with two older sisters, it seemed like I always got caught when I was doing what I wasn’t supposed to. In my mind, I was the model child and couldn’t possibly be the culprit. At least that’s what I wanted my folks to believe. I attempted to make a variety excuses and consistently blame others. Unfortunately, my parents could see right through most of my efforts to not have to deal with my disobedience. One time I strongly argued that I hadn’t eaten any cookies before dinner while chocolate was smeared across my face. (Not sure how they saw through that one!)

The older I get, the more I realize that the instinct to avoid owning our sin does not just go away. If we are honest with ourselves, we all make excuses on a regular basis. Instead of dealing with our sin, we turn to other responses. Perhaps we deny it: “There’s no problem here. I didn’t do it.” Or we blame others: “If they had just acted differently, then I wouldn’t be in this scenario. It’s really their fault!” Maybe we compare ourselves to others and rationalize our actions: “What I did wasn’t that bad. I mean, what they did was way worse! I would never do that!” In each of these scenarios, we are avoiding being honest with ourselves. We have gotten ourselves into a predicament that we must address.

In this story, the younger son wanted his father’s stuff more than he wanted a relationship with his father. The son goes off to a far off land and squanders all that he has. He reaches an all-time low, where “he was longing to be fed with the pods that the pigs ate” (v. 16). It was only when we came to the end of his rope, void of all available resources, that “he came to himself” (v. 17). This was the beginning of his taking ownership for his actions. As we consider our lives, what is hindering our honesty? Are we making excuses and running from our predicaments? Perhaps we are stuck in a cycle of blaming or denying or rationalizing our actions when we know that we have sinned. Today, identify what gets in the way of your being honest. What are your roadblocks to reality? This is the first step in ownership as we begin to recognize our sin and move toward healing. [/vc_column_text][us_separator height=”25px” size=”custom”][vc_column_text]

By Billy Berglund  

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