Ever clicked on one of those spam links that promises you a shiny new ipad if you fill out a quick survey? I know I have. I’m dumb sometimes. Ever eaten the 50% free parts of stuff in the supermarket then put the 50% that you have to pay for back on the shelf? Ever been thrown out of a supermarket?

We love free stuff. We love offers but sometimes they sound too good to be true. But that won’t stop us trying to grab them will it? No. And why should it? A free holiday? Where do I sign? Free internet for six months? Plug me in.

Look closely though and there’s always a catch. Yeah sure you get a free holiday just as long as you send us your bank details. Sure you can have free internet for six months but we’re going to charge you extortionate prices for the next two years of the contract ,we secretly stuck down at the bottom of the small print of which you didn’t bother to read.

And sure you can eat the 50% free from cereal boxes but you have to pay for the rest of the pack too and stay 50 feet from the store at all times.

Like I said, too good to be true.

So perhaps it’s little wonder we react the same when we hear about Jesus’ love. Unconditional love no matter what I do? Sure, nice try, where’s the small print?

The Prodigal son knew all about stuff that was too good to be true. He left his home and his family, food, shelter and wealth, to go and have a good time somewhere else. He didn’t really care about what he left behind, he was just interested in the allure of something that he imagined in his head.

The story goes on that eventually he realized he had nothing. He wasted what he did have and resorted to competing with animals for food. All partied out he had two choices; stay where he was and die, or go home.

He made the right decision. But he knew it wasn’t going to be easy when he got home. All that groveling he would have to do, never mind the hours he was going to put in to make up for everything he wasted.

If you know the story you know that’s not exactly how it went down. Returning home with his house in sight his father ran out to meet him, ignoring social norms to show His son how much He loved him. His son was home and he was alright.

Now the obvious thing to do next is to sit him down and go over everything he had messed up and share how much hurt his leaving had caused. Make a repayment plan.

Not throw a party. Not kill the best animal you have and show off your son to your friends and village.

Too good to be true?

Seems like it a lot.

Just looked at porn for the third time today? Go straight to Jesus? Receive his love right there without questions and without having to make it up?

Too good to be true?

When the son returned he had his speech ready to go. It was all about him. It was all about what he could do to make it up. His father saw it differently. It wasn’t really about the son. It was about His love for His son. He didn’t care how His son would try and fix it because he didn’t have to.

God doesn’t have time to hear about how you promise to never look at porn again. He doesn’t want to hear about all the ways you will make it up. The efforts you make to earn His love are just getting in the way of time enjoying something you already have. The shame you feel is just a time waster.

There is work to do. There is a life to lead. There is freedom to pursue. A love and a party to enjoy.

Sometimes it feels like God is hiding His face from us and we need to prove our worth before He will look at us again.

But the father never left. The son did. The father was there all along watching and waiting. Dying to give his son what was already his.

You can’t earn God’s love.

All you can do is enjoy it.

Still think it’s too good to be true?

Maybe you should go home and find out.