Jealousy leads to misunderstanding

25 “Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on. 27 ‘Your brother has come,’ he replied, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’

28 “The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. 29 But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. 30 But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’

31 “‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. 32 But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’” Luke 15:25-31 NIV

This was predictable. But the older son’s arguments do not stand up under the truth test. He says his dad never even gave him a young goat. The truth is, the father gave both boys their inheritance when the young one asked for his portion. Traditionally, this means the older son received twice the bounty of the younger. Oh jealousy, you green-eyed monster, you cause such heartache!

The running father has more than one son who needs unconditional love! Sadly, this son has yet to grasp the principles of his father. He has some sensitivity to what he perceives his father has withheld from him but he, much like his younger sibling, has failed to grasp the vision for living that this father has modeled for both his boys.

The running father pursues in love this resentful, angry older son with the same intensity that he ran toward the younger boy.

The scriptures do not give us further information about this family but I pray that the father lived long enough to see his boys become fathers; to see these sons grow into men who were willing to run toward their own children.

This is a hope for us all. We can also grow into people who can set aside our compulsions and insecurities. We can learn how to run toward others in love.