“Listen! For all these years I have been working like a slave for you, and I have never disobeyed your command; yet you have never given me even a young goat so that I might celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours came back, who has devoured your property with prostitutes, you killed the fatted calf for him!” Luke 15:29–30 (nrsv)
Do you hear the envy and resentment in the voice of the brother of the prodigal son? He, after all, was obedient to his father and always did what he was told but he’d never been given a party or even a goat! Now his wastrel brother comes home and everyone celebrates. Does that seem fair? It certainly didn’t to this hardworking sibling.
But who was hurt by this pique of jealousy? Not the prodigal son who was at last home with the father he loved. Not the father, who was overjoyed at the return of the son he thought was lost to him. probably not any of the celebrants either, who were enjoying themselves at the party. The only one truly hurt by the envy was the jealous son.
Have you carried things around in your heart—anger, resentment, bitterness or antagonism—over a perceived hurt or slight? Do you feel like a martyr because you believe you are the only one who does things the way they should be done? Do you feel alienated and separate from friends and family because of your way of thinking? If so, the lack of forgiveness in your heart is only hurting you!
FAITH STEP: Today choose to be forgiving no matter what happens, just as Jesus was. Decide not to let feelings that eat at you take over. Make your mind up not to take offense. Choose forgiveness.
Written by Judy Baer