In a way, I think the story of The Prodigal Son (see Luke chapter 15) is both of one of the most comforting and distressing passages in the Bible for many. To those who have messed up or strayed, it’s a message of hope and redemption. We serve a God who always welcomes us back with open arms when we repent, no questions asked.
However, I think many of us might be like the “good” older son in the parable. Here he was, being a good kid when his brother was out doing who-knows-what. Then, his dad welcomes him back like nothing ever happened. We don’t know exactly what might have gone through the older son’s head. It does seem obvious that he felt a bit put out. How dare his dad forgive his older brother like that!
I think a lot of us might feel as though it’s not right that God’s forgiveness comes so easily. Part of the “human condition” unfortunately involves having a “Get them God!” attitude sometimes. However, this mercy and grace is exactly what allows us to enter into a relationship with God in the first place. When we keep this in its proper perspective, it’s easier to understand God’s mercy.