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The Other Brother

“Now his older son was in the field. And as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing. So he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant. And he said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and because he has received him safe and sound, your father has killed the fatted calf.’ But he was angry and would not go in. Therefore his father came out and pleaded with him. So he answered and said to his father, ‘Lo, these many years I have been serving you; I never transgressed your commandment at any time; and yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might make merry with my friends. But as soon as this son of yours came, who has devoured your livelihood with harlots, you killed the fatted calf for him.’ And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that I have is yours. It was right that we should make merry and be glad, for your brother was dead and is alive again, and was lost and is found.’” Luke 15:25-32

If you don’t recognize that passage, it comes from the Prodigal Son. Normally we focus on the love of the father or the repentant prodigal son, but I want to take some time to talk about the faithful son, the one that stayed behind.

I’ve been thinking a lot about him lately. I think most Christians, if we’re truly honest, can identify with him. We’ve all been there. Or at least I know I have. I’ve been reading Comparison Girl by Shannon Popkin. In this book she delves into all of the comparisons we make with Christians and sinners alike and points out that our disgust is even a comparison.

I began to think about the other brother in this story. He was disgusted that his brother first, would have the audacity to go and blow all of his father’s money on harlots and secondly, that his father would celebrate the son’s return. It was what Shannon Popkin calls the “upside down Kingdom”. God doesn’t measure us based on measuring lines like we do to others.

As I scroll through Facebook and search my own heart, I know we are measuring the world with disgust. We are looking on from the side thinking they aren’t worthy to sit in our church or even thinking to ourselves, “Did they really get saved?” Yikes! We have become judge where God never called us to be the judge.

So, today as we encounter others that sin differently than us, may we always lead them to the Father with outstretched arms. Let them come broken and dirty and destitute. It’s not our job to change them. May we let the Holy Spirit convict their hearts and ours. I pray that I can see others through the Father’s eyes today and not through the eyes of the other brother.

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