“But when this son of yours who has squandered your property…” “We had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again.” Luke 15:30,32
You were not just made for a relationship with God; you were made for a relationship with your brothers and sisters in Christ. The older brother had stopped seeing the prodigal as his brother – he only saw him as his father’s son: “this son of yours…”
When the prodigal left, his father’s heart broke, not just because of what he was losing, but because of what his oldest son was losing. The father had heard these sons laugh together, seen them compete with each other, and watched them defend each other their whole lives. He probably dreamed of them being life-long friends who would enjoy seeing their children grow up together and enjoy the bonds of family. The family was broken up when the prodigal left, and it was a great loss for everyone. Our sin doesn’t just separate us from communion with God, it hurts the whole family.
When the wayward son returned, the father was overjoyed because the family could be whole again, but the older brother didn’t see it that way. When he refused to join the party, the father went outside to reason with him: “This is your brother who had died to all that is good and beautiful. He is back; we can be a family again. Please embrace him and let us rejoice together.” (My paraphrase)
The father was ready to make him a son, but his oldest was not ready or willing to see the prodigal as his brother again. His life was smaller because of it.
How about you? Has the Father come to you and asked you to give a brother, sister, friend, parent, or child another chance? Let’s die to our right to be angry or wounded; let’s forgive and start seeing value in the broken people around us that God is trying to redeem. Let’s go into the feast and rejoice in God’s love together, for the sake of our Father, and for the sake of our own brothers and sisters.