“The older brother was angry and wouldn’t go in.”
—Luke 15:28a NLT
The “Prodigal Son” had returned home, his father had received him with joy and despite his serious mistakes, everyone was celebrating his return.
All except his older brother, who during his brother’s absence had remained home, faithfully working on the family farm.
Luke 15:28 tells us that when he found out his younger brother had returned and that his father had thrown a party to celebrate it, he was outraged and refused to go in.
His father begged him to come inside, but angry at the injustice of the situation, the older son insisted on staying outside in the darkness.
We were all once the “Prodigal Son,” but if we are not careful we can easily become the older brother. Over time we manage to clean up our act and perhaps even come to believe that we earned our place in the family of God.
It is in that dangerous place of thinking that we can earn God’s love that we are capable of condemning our brothers and sisters whom Jesus died to save.
Remember the words of Jesus in John 13:34b (ESV): “Just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.”
Jesus loved us when we were his enemies and has called us to love others in the same way. Even, especially, when they don’t deserve it.
Here’s a short prayer to carry with you today:
Breathe in: I never deserved your love;
Breathe out: Help me love the unworthy.