Confession from the older brother of the prodigal son.
I knew it. I just knew it. That little brat took his portion of the inheritance from our father and then ran off. I knew he was going to waste it too. He wastes everything. He is so ungrateful! I stay here working night and day like a slave to please our father and he gets to run off and have a party. I am so mad! Seriously who does he think he is? Was he up at dawn to feed the animals? No. Was he out in the field sweating every day? No. He was never there to do the hard things. He was never there to do the dirty work. When a guest would come who would prepare the feast? Me. Mr. Fun gets to run around and do as he pleases and I am left holding the bag and doing the work. And now this.
He just shows back up. Just comes home like a hero who was sent off to war. Well, how nice to see you again little brother. Have you come home to collect my inheritance as well? Was it not enough to blow yours? Do you need a little extra for a fix? Let me guess “oh father I have sinned against you and I am so sorry, just let me be a servant.” Boohoo. If he was my kid I would give him something alright. A boot right in the backside. See ya sucker thanks for stopping by. But no, dad just stands there hugging him and kissing him. Seriously? That’s what makes me so angry.
Don’t get me wrong I am plenty mad at my brother but what makes me so angry is I knew this was going to happen. I knew my father was going to forgive him and just love on him. I love my father and he is such a great man. He is so kind, loving, generous, patient, and giving. Not just to me and my lazy brother but to everyone. If there is ever anyone who is in need my father will help. He never says no to someone who comes to him. I love my father so much and I saw how much it hurt him when my brother ran off. I try to please my father all the time hardly asking for anything. I seek to do what he wants because I love him but my brother gets lavished with affection for being a screwup.
Ok, I took some liberties but I have been thinking about the older brother. Mostly because I realized the other day that I have slipped into being the older brother. I am no saint to be sure but I try very hard (problem) and I desire to please my Father (good thing). In the midst of my laboring (problem), I know some people who have and are wasting their gifts. I have found myself becoming a little bitter (problem). What makes me upset is I am busting my but to do right (problem), act right (problem), and be good (problem) because I love God (good thing). I want to please my Father and rejoice only in Him (good thing) but I don’t understand why it has to be so hard. People I know who are wasting their gifts are able to do all sorts of things I am not because I am trying to seek His kingdom (good thing).
Here is the kicker, though – I know God is standing at the ready to receive them and give them His love. Oh, that is the frustrating part. It is frustrating because I know that I cannot just blow it off and go do what I want because that would be willingly sinning. So I get to stand and watch people get what they want knowing they will turn to God and get blessed. That is the thing about serving a loving and generous God.
Don’t get me wrong. Like I said I am no saint, and to top it off I know I am wrong. I know verses like Romans 14:4 say do not judge another man’s servant. Or Matthew 7:3 where Jesus says I should remove the plank from my eye. I know full well that I am wrong. So what do I do?
First, I need to confess my sin. Then I need to ask God to change my heart. To help me be more focused on who He wants me to be. Finally, I have to receive the goodness and love I know He has. I think a big first step is realizing that I am wrong and that God can course correct me. I don’t want to feel this way and I am getting better but I thought it would be best to share a real struggle because I know I am not alone in these types of feelings. We know we should not have them and we know we are wrong but we get stuck because as a Christian we should not be like this. Part of the problem is that as a Christian I have to be able to admit I struggle and fail. That is why I need a great Savior.
We can go on pretending that everything is fine and we don’t have envy or jealousy or bitterness but that does not actually fix the problem that just pretends it’s not there. However, God knows the heart so if you are struggling with these things then God knows so why not just confess it and let Him heal you?
Just a thought,