Many people appreciate the story about the prodigal son, and the emphasis has always, in my experience, been placed on the son who left. But not much has been said about the son who got angry with his father because the father was so welcoming to the prodigal. The scriptures never do say if the older son got over his anger—I believe he did eventually since it was so long ago. But then again, if his father was unable to offer him empathy and try to help him work through his feelings, that older son might have held on to his anger, past it on to the next seven generations, and Hitler might have been born out of that. But that is another story.
My point is that so much emphasis by preachers and bible teachers is about the mercy of our heavenly father because of the prodigal son being forgiven. But most church goers and Christian leaders are not like the prodigal son. They are outwardly doing all the right things—but where are their hearts?
I feel encouraged because it seems like bible teacher and preachers are preaching more about people changing themselves—especially their hearts.
Here is the way I am looking at it.
The overwhelming proof is that Jesus is God. If you don’t believe this, I really recommend that you read A CASE FOR THE REAL JESUS or A CASE FOR FAITH both by Lee Strobel. Lee was a former atheist who set out to prove that Christianity was a bunch of lies when his wife gave her life to Christ. But after a thorough investigation-which he was good at since he was an investigative reporter by trade—he decided that he wanted to give his life to Jesus too. He convinced me with his meticulous research that the case is overwhelmingly in favor of Jesus being who he said he was.
Even if you don’t believe that Jesus is God—or at this point, you see it as irrelevant, , I want to offer some practical reasons why you might want to consider having a relationship with Jesus.
First of all, Jesus came not to build churches, but to change our hearts. In fact, I just read this morning when I looked in the bible for confirmation aobut what I am writing…John the Baptist even taught, “you must have a change of heart”. I know Jesus taught all about this, especially when he referred to the white seplecures which were the Pharisees who cared only about external adhesion to the law. I will do a whole article about the Heart and Jesus in the near future.
Jesus was not a religious person. He gave two main commandments—love God, love neighbor. Actually, he snuck an extra one in there which is not emphasized usually—love your self since your are supposed to love your neighbor as yourself.
The reason I like Jesus is that because when I opened my heart to him, he started giving me power to live out his laws. passionate about their faith that I decided to try it out as a last resort. I was sick of looking at making up my own truth as I went along. The people who inspired me to open my heart to Christ were people I respected and came to love. I wanted to be like them. I wanted to have their passion.
I gave my life to Christ reluctantly, telling him that I basically didn’t understand it all, and I wasn’t sure it was going to work, but I wanted to give it a try because I was so unhappy. Jesus was so kind—he took my halfhearted attempt to give my life to him, and let it be a seed that would take years to even germinate.
It has only been recently that I have really fallen in love with Jesus, and want to help others fall in love with Jesus. That is because I realize that loving Jesus means loving you, my neighbor, my family, my friends, my enemies, the worst criminal in the universe, cockroaches, and fleas, pollution, nuclear power and everything on the planet and in the universe.
I can’t see Jesus, and it is hard for me to love him, but I can love his creation that he made along with Father and holy spirit. They are basically a community that just wanted to have more to love and more to have fun with . After all it is hard to have a fun volley ball game with 3, even if you are God.
Now that I have learned with all my heart that loving means not a sappy being nice not setting boundaries or telling the truth—I realize that to love means to see every person as an expression of God—and sometimes that person’s actions are tragic. I am more and more easily seeing that as expressions of God, we were made to love and be loved. That is the only way we are going to be truly happy. But because of our upbringing, our society, and a decision by many to be independent from God, it is not natural for us to love, especially when someone is acting in a way we don’t like.
But that is where Jesus comes and turns the tables on our logic. He tells us to love our enemies. That means that to truly love them, for me I need to see that they are just people trying to offer love or request love—just often in tragic ways. When I look at people through that lense, then I can make a wiser decision as to how to think about them and how to treat them. I see them as little children who don’t know any better. Sure, it seems that big men who rape and murder should know better. But what do statistics say about these men—that they had horrible child hoods, right? They are little children trapped in big bodies who are hurting horribly, and acting out.
This does not mean that I go up to such a person and give them a hug and spend time alone with them. It means that I find ways to help that are proactive and creative. Just the way I speak about them to others is an expression of love. Praying for their well-being is another. Finding ways to have restorative justice rather than punitive justice is yet another.
I am falling in love with Jesus the more I find the bliss of falling in love of his creation comprised of people animal vegetable and mineral. I see love every w here, and the more I see love, the more I feel love. The more I feel love, the more I vibrate as love. The more I vibrate as love, the more I attract love. The more I attract love, the more love I want to give away. It becomes the ultimate upward spiral.
Jesus main message was to help the older brother to deal with his feelings. He preached forgiveness and loving those who are hard to love. But he did not tell exactly how to do that. People think that if you just have a relationship with Jesus, you will be able to do that. And he does give us power to love our enemies and do all the other impossible things that he asks of us. And there are Christians, who demonstrate this wonderfully,
But the overwhelming majority of Christians struggle like the older brother. They want to be like Christ, but don’t know how. They don’t even know how to have a relationship with Jesus, and often are not taught that this is important. But I think that Marshall Rosenberg came to teach nonviolent communication as a way to help people to love each other as Jesus did. I highly recommend learning about nonviolent communication. Here is the website http://www.cnvc.org
Non-violent communication that I have practiced for twenty years without Jesus is really hard because I have to do it on my own strength that is not very strong. But Jesus gives me the strength. There is power in his blood and there is power in committing my life to him. It is a mysterious, unexplainable power. It would have been nice to have a God just send a great teacher down to earth to show us what can be done, and how to do it in order to find God. But He didn’t stop there. He sent his son to give us power. But we have to accept that power. To accept that power we just need to commit our life to Jesus and to start having a real relationship with him.
I know that many people have found that power who didn’t or don’t have a relationship with Jesus. I think that those people commune with Jesus spirit because of their deep longing, and Jesus is merciful. He understands that so many people have spoiled his teachings and now people are turned off. But I hope to help people overcome their prejudice and look at Jesus clearly.
After all, it really can’t hurt to say shyly to Jesus—look, I want to have a relationship with you so I can really learn to love and be truly happy—but I don’t know how. And I don’t really believe in you because of all the people who have not represented you in a positive light. Can you help me out?
How’s that for a sinner’s prayer? I believe that Jesus will meet you wherever you are if you sincerely want to love as he does. I want to fan those flames of people wanting to know Jesus, and I am in the process of figuring out things like conference calls, a ning site, a Sunday morning gathering at the park, and more.