Storyline – The Story of the Prodigal’s Older Brother
If you are at all familiar with the story of the prodigal son, then you understand the sharp contrast between the compassionate heart of the father and the calloused heart of the older brother. Rather than sharing in his father’s joy, the older brother became consumed with anger over the lavish homecoming celebration. Untouched by his father’s plea to join the festivities, what resulted was an outburst which revealed the depth of his frustration:
“‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’” (Luke 15:28-30).
Sure, the older brother was unhappy about his brother’s foolishness – but why was he so angry? What prevented him from joining his father and the others from welcoming his brother back home?
While there must have been many contributing factors, it is clear that the older brother believed that he was far more worthy of the attention and affection that had been showered on his younger brother, “the prodigal.” Overcome by feelings of resentment and jealousy, the older brother couldn’t bring himself to be a part of the amazing story of reconciliation that was unfolding within his own family.
The Story of the Prodigal’s Older Brother & Your Story
Do you ever feel justified in withholding forgiveness from a family member or friend who has completely blown it – or feel conflicted when others who are close to you become reconciled with someone who has hurt you deeply? While these emotions are understandable, if allowed to take root and grow, they will stand in the way of a restored relationship.
When the prospect of reconciliation seems overwhelming, Romans 5:8 offers a profound perspective: “…God demonstrates his own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” In our broken, fallen, imperfect, sin-stained condition, our Heavenly Father chose to reconcile us back to Himself through the priceless gift of His one and only Son. Instead of giving us what we deserved, He extended grace. As peacemakers, let us strive to do the same.
Up Ahead on “The Path”…
Check out next week’s post where we’ll explore the difference between healthy and unhealthy tension in our relationships. As always, thanks for reading – and keep sharing the posts from The Path of a Peacemaker!
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