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  • Henry Omotayo

The Older Son

Luke 15:11-32

Message No. 0698 | Twitter @GodandUs |

Children of the same parents don’t always get along with one another. Some children have been referred to as “The black sheep” of their families, or the different ones, or the troublemakers of the family, or some other derogatory terms. These terms are based on the different ways some children behave, notwithstanding that they were born of the same parents as their siblings. While no one can assertively say why this is, we know that God gives every person He creates freewill, and self-determination powers. We also know that, depending on the friends kept by each child or the environments they grew up in, some behaviors are differently shaped.

In some extreme cases, we’ve seen or heard of siblings who kill other siblings either because of money (usually inheritance money sharing disagreements) or because of some other types or envy or rivalry. A good case is the one between Cain and Abel. For no fault of his, Abel got killed by his brother, based solely on envy; his offering was accepted by God, while his brother’s was rejected.

In Luke chapter 11, a different kind of rivalry and jealousy existed between the Prodigal Son and his elder brother. Without any hint or warning, the Bible says that the younger son woke up one day and demanded his portion of the father’s wealth. Now, it was unusual, and still is, for inheritance to be distributed among children when the parents are still alive. Even when the parents are deceased, the goods are not distributed in a hurry because it is necessary to find out how the parents died, perhaps a greedy and impatient child planned their killing, as some children from hell have been seen to do.

When the younger son collected his portion of goods and went to a foreign land to waste it, the older son was probably happy that he now had no rivals concerning the balance of the father’s wealth. Unfortunately for him (but fortunately for the father and the younger son), his brother repented and came back home. As any father would do for a child who repents and amends his or her ways, the father threw a party to welcome the repented child. His elder brother would however have none of it. He was angry that the father threw a party for someone who had gone away and wasted his goods, when he who never offended never got anything to show for his dedication and loyalty.

I believe that Jesus Christ specifically and deliberately gave this parable to teach us to forgive, not only our biological siblings, but our siblings in Christ also. Too often we hold grudges among family members and the sins of one member is held against him or her for a very long time, if not for ever. In the church also, we often hold our brethren’s sins, errors, and mistakes against them. We use statements like, he or she calls himself or herself a Christian, how could he or she do such a thing. It is a disgrace and a shame. Certainly, he or she is a pretender and who knows what other things the brother or sister may be doing in secret that we do not know. Even when such people repent and are already forgiven by God, we humans continue to hold their sins against them, and we continue to suspect them for a very long time after our Heavenly Father has already erased their transgressions.

God’s children are too quick to play the holier-than-thou game of the Pharisee who prayed boastfully of his self-righteousness before God. In Luke chapter 18 verses 10 – 13, the Bible says:

“Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’ “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’

The Bible says that the tax collector went home justified but the Pharisee returned home condemned. Can we learn a lesson from the parable of the Prodigal Son and stop behaving like the older son? Does the Bible not say that if we refuse to forgive those who sin against us, we will not receive forgiveness for our own sins. Or, do we think, like the Pharisee, that we are sinless also? What if the people we offend hold our offenses against us and refuse to forgive us, how would that feel? Our God is waiting on every one of us to repent and turn a new leaf. Let us not forget that all our righteousness is like filthy rags before our holy God. It’s time to let go of every offense we may be holding against our siblings, both biological and spiritual. Unforgiveness has no good side, it is the evil we perpetrate against ourselves.

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 If you are yet to give your life to Christ, you do not have a covenant with God and His promises do not apply to you. To come under these promises, please surrender your life to Christ today, by praying this prayer:
 Lord I know that I am a sinner and I am unable to save myself. I am sorry for my sins and I pray that you please forgive me. I am aware that Your Son Jesus died for my sins and I accept Him as my Lord and savior. I surrender my life unto you from this moment. Please take control of my entire being and help me to be obedient to your Word, going forward. Thank you, Lord, for hearing me. I have prayed in Jesus’ name. Amen.
 If you prayed the foregoing prayer, you have just been born again. Please find a Bible believing church in your area and ask to see the pastor. Let him or her know that you have just given your life to Christ and s/he will guide you on next steps in your journey as a child of God. The Lord bless you!

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