Yesterday I wrote about forgiveness through the parable of the lost son. That story has a flip side, you know.
Little brothers (and sisters) can be very annoying.
I should know – I’m a little sister. We younger siblings want to tag along (can I play Barbies with your friends?), borrow clothing (can I wear your button-fly Guess jeans?) and will play the “I’m telling Mom and Dad” card if the we even sniff sibling abuse. (OK, so the Guess jeans comment just dated me I’m sure, but I did grow up in the 70’s and early 80’s so cut me some slack.)
But let’s face it – older siblings are NOTORIOUS for pulling the “He’s bothering me, Mom” card – even if the little brother isn’t in the same room. Oh and let’s not even talk about all the things the younger one gets blamed for because the older brother is just savvy enough, just conniving enough to redirect the blame to his unsuspecting younger victim.
But back to the parable of the lost son. I can only imagine when the older brother got wind that his younger brother had left town with his half of daddy’s money, he may have very well thought, “Oh heck yes. Finally that annoying baby of the family is gone. Now I’ll have mom, dad, all the servants and everything else all to myself! No more crying and whining because I’m being mean or I won’t let him hang out with my friends.”
(I’m channeling what I think he would have said because his reaction to his brother’s homecoming was less than hospitable. He might as well have been Scarlet O’Hara welcoming the Yankees into Tara.)
“The older brother stalked off in an angry sulk and refused to join in. His father came out and tried to talk to him, but he wouldn’t listen. The son said, ‘Look how many years I’ve stayed here serving you, never giving you one moment of grief, but have you ever thrown a party for me and my friends? Then this son of yours who has thrown away your money on whores shows up and you go all out with a feast!” (Luke 15:28-30, The Message)
OK so the older brother had serious ISSUES. And you know what? There’s not a dang thing his daddy could have said that would have made him feel better about the situation. Scripture tells us he wouldn’t listen to his father – so I hate to break it to the older brother, but he actually had the same issue his little brother did – PRIDE.
When someone is generous or kind, shows mercy or offers forgiveness, it is not up to us to judge the reason, the fairness or the validity of the act. Or as Jesus said, “Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults – unless, of course, you want the same treatment. Don’t condemn those who are down – that hardness can boomerang. Be easy on people; you’ll find life a lot easier. Give away your life; you’ll find life given back, but not merely given back – given back with bonus and blessing. Giving, not getting, is the way. Generosity begets generosity.” (Luke 6:37-38, The Message)
I am very blessed because I have great examples of generosity in my own family. My parents and my husband truly go out of their way to do nice things for other people, whether they are related to them or not. They are great examples of generosity, giving and serving and I’m so thankful to witness their generosity on a daily basis.
As Jesus said, giving, not getting, is the way.
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