The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. — Luke 15:28
The older brother was angry because his father was being “too good” to his younger brother who had squandered the money he previously demanded. In the older brother’s mind, his younger brother did not deserve the goodness of his father. He deserved to be disciplined. He deserved to be punished. The older brother was hoping for a show. He was hoping for an entertaining show in which his younger brother got what he deserved.
I sit here and ask myself “which of these two am I most like?” Am I the younger son who is just glad to be home in the Father’s house? Or, am I the older son who thinks that I deserve to be here because of how hard I’ve worked and how good I am?
Right now, I am most like the younger son. I must admit that I squandered my youth. I took some of the best years that God gave me and did nothing good with them. I probably have more cassette tapes at my parents’ house than any of you reading this. I squandered my money. I didn’t invest any of it for the future, and I certainly never thought of returning any of it to the God who gave me the means to earn it. There are people who have given 10% for as long as they can remember. How should they view someone like me who was saved and so selfish?
If there was one thing that I could undo about my past, I would have remained pure sexually until marriage. God gave me a very special gift . . . Purity. It was a very special thing that I was supposed to share with my wife, only my wife, after we got married. Guess what I did with that gift? I squandered it. I kept fragmenting myself and giving away such a valuable possession like it didn’t mean anything at all. There are people who did it right. They disciplined themselves and stayed away from certain places and drew lines that they refused to cross. How should they view someone like me who became a son of God when he was sixteen, then proceeded to treat His gifts with such contempt?
There are so many unmerciful servants of God, older brothers if you will, that it is difficult to realize that God is overjoyed that we are home. Keep in mind that I would not have been able to come home if I had simply said “I made a mistake,” or “I’m not perfect.” The words the father was looking for were the ones the younger son used. He said “Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.” If a sinner is willing to humble himself and truly repent, why wouldn’t other Christians be happy for them and join in the celebration?
Christians as a whole are kind of like the Angry Birds. We gravitate toward destroying those pigs. Unfortunately, in the process, we destroy ourselves . . . We separate ourselves from the Father and forget that his number one concern is for the lost to come home. The truth is, there are a lot of prodigals out there. By prodigal, I mean people who have become a part of God’s family by asking Him into their hearts, but are still slopping around inside the pigpen. I had a hard time leaving the pigpen after I became His Son. In a lot of ways, I still take a look around it. Praise God, I realize that The Father is 10,000 times better than any temporary pleasure I received in the pigpen. The desire to go back diminishes as the years go by, but Satan still tries to make it attractive every chance he gets.
I guess I say all that to ask this: Which type of Son or Daughter of God are you?
Are you the lost son with joy in your heart because The Father forgave you and received you?
Or, are you the older son who can’t stand to see God be good to those who don’t have it all figured it out yet?
The truth is . . . I can be both.
Lord, kill that older son spirit within me. I came from the pigpen. May I never think negatively on those who still wallow there. Give me the knowledge and wisdom to help lead them out. Grant me the heart to pray for them and never believe that I am above them and actually deserve the many blessings you have poured out on me. May you never have to plead with me to join the celebration.