Prodigal or The Other Brother?

“The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. But he answered his father, ‘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!’

” ‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ ” Luke 15:28-32

Which one are you? Are you the prodigal who after demanding his inheritance from his father went out and squandered it all on “wild living?” Or are you the older brother whose jealousy consumed him when the prodigal returned?

I identify more with the older brother, and ironically my sister is the prodigal. But in God’s eyes we’re both the same.

This is how I started this post, and I was going to share on how God sees our sins all the same, and welcomes everyone back into the family who repents, no matter what they have done. Though the message would have been sound, the other day at church the pastor took the story of the prodigal one step further, and I was blessed and enlightened. This is what I got out of it…

My pastor talked about the fall of a prominent Christian leader and how the rest of the Christian community has a choice to welcome the prodigal back home for healing and restoration, or stand in the cross roads, judging and condemning him.

What was especially heart warming about this sermon was that my pastor spoke from “fallen” experience. Though his sins were different, his brokenness was similar. He touched on the fact though God sees sin as sin, there are those sins that truly devastate a person and leave him wallowing in the muck and mire of condemnation and despair. Though God welcomes this type of sinner back into the fold, this type of sinner really needs restoration, not condemnation.

He posed this question. What if the other brother had met the prodigal in the road before the father? Since I identify with the other brother, I can imagine what would have happened.

There would be an “I told you so”, some blaming mixed in with condemnation and the prodigal would have slumped off, defeated back to the pig pen. I’m so glad the father met him on the road first!

When my pastor was contemplating what to do with his life after his “fall” and the stepping down from his church he remembers thinking going back into the ministry wasn’t even possible. “I feel so unworthy of the ministry,” he cried out to God. God replied, “when were you EVER worthy?”

What a powerful message! It is because of God’s great mercy and grace that we are able to serve him freely, and when we start looking to ourselves, that’s when we are destined to stumble.

I really needed to hear this message. It doesn’t have to apply to just our fallen leaders, but it can apply to our everyday lives. Too often I judge and criticize my children when I should be welcoming them back from their mistakes with open arms. I expect too much and when they fail, I say “I told you so.” Instead of slinging muck in their face like the other brother, I need to be more like the father who rejoiced that his prodigal had come home and welcome them with open arms.

Sorry, comments are closed for this post.