not to be forgiven, for this has already
rather, to learn how to forgive, and to
restore what always was to your unforgiving
parable of the prodigal son offers a full and
rich metaphor for our journey of healing within
the dream of separation.
to the story of the prodigal son and learn what
God's treasure is and yours:
son of a loving father left his home and thought
he had squandered everything for nothing of
any value, although he had not understood
its worthlessness at the time.
was ashamed to return to his father, because
he thought he had hurt him. Yet
when he came home the father welcomed him
with joy, because the son himself was his
wanted nothing else.
Chap 8 Power of Joint Decision
this parable, Jesus teaches us clearly that
there is no condemnation in God. The prodigal
left home and wandered deep into the far country
of illusion and despair.
morning, the story says, he awoke and "came
remembered that he had a home and a kind and
loving father. He decided to go home.
prodigal set out on his journey home believing
that he had sinned against his father and that
he was no longer worthy to be called his father's
when his father heard that he was coming, he
sent an escort to meet him and make the journey
of return with him. When the prodigal came before
him, the father greeted him with unreserved
welcome, joy, feasting, and celebration. In
effect, the father said to his son,
are mistaken in how you see yourself.
are still my son, my heart's treasure, whom
I love and in whom I delight.
then did the prodigal come to understand that
nothing had changed, nothing had been lost,
nothing had destroyed his identity or his father's
teaching of the parable does not end, however,
with the prodigal's return. There was a second
son, who had appeared to be "good"
and to do everything his father wanted.
son became jealous and angry over his father's
celebration of his brother's return and complained
bitterly that his father had never held such
a feast for him. He would have denied his
brother welcome, pointing out his brother's
"sins" and contrasting them with
his own "righteousness."
as the father did not condemn the prodigal for
his wanderings, neither did he become angry
with his second son's bitterness and jealousy.
simply reminded this son, gently and lovingly,
that all his, the father's, wealth was also
his—and always had been.
was freely his for the accepting, just as it
was being freely given his brother.
second son's belief that his father's favor
and grace had to be earned shows that
he did not really know his father's
lack of understanding and his self-righteous
stance had separated him from his father
just as much as the prodigal's misguided wanderings
had done. He too had denied himself the experience
of his father's limitless abundance and love.
of the past, the second son's unforgiveness
of his brother was all that kept him from fully
sharing in the feast now.
unforgiveness in our minds is all that is keeping
us from awakening and sharing in the overflowing
richness of Creation.
is not God's forgiveness that we need, for
as this story makes clear, our Father has
not condemned us.
is our own forgiveness that is needed, for we
have banished ourselves from the awareness and
experience of His Love.
receive the gifts of forgiveness as we are
willing to extend forgiveness to our brother.
challenge of our healing journey is twofold—for
we are like both the prodigal son and
the self-righteous son in this parable.
we need to recognize that we cannot
find fulfillment, happiness, safety, or peace
in the ego's world, in all the misdirected
ways and places we've sought for them.
can find our treasure only by remembering
who we are, by coming home.