Yesterday we continued our series “People of the Second Chance” and Justin spoke about the elder brother in the story from Luke 15. I knew this one was going to get me because I have a tendency to be more like the elder brother rather than the prodigal son. Prepare to say “ouch” a few times. This was a good one!
The Elder Brother by Justin Davis
Collision of radical grace and bureacratic religion.
Luke 15:1-2, 25-32
Elder brothers equate religious activity with spiritual transformation.
We wrestle with the tension of: Doing things for God vs. Knowing God personally
The Elder Brother Syndrome:
Elder brothers live with a sense of obligation. “I have to.”
You are doing all these things and you feel no closer to God. God doesn’t want your dutiful obedience, He wants you to follow Him out of a loving response to who He is.
Elder brothers have an attitude of entitlement. “You owe me.”
When you serve out of obligation, you begin to assume the attitude that God owes you.
Entitlement says “why them and not me?”
When you live with a sense of entitlement you begin to crave a relationship with God for what He can do for you rather than for who He is.
Elder brothers feel superior by being judgmental. “I’m better than you”
We tend to be the most judgmental of other people for the sins that we personally struggle with the most.
The goal of the judgmental heart isn’t to reflect the heart of the Father, it’s to look better than others.
Elder brothers harbor unresolved resentment. “You’re unforgivable”
The Antidote for the Elder Brother Syndrome is brokenness.
Brokenness is relying on God’s grace and living in that feeling every day.
Prodigals realize their need for grace and receive it.
Elder brothers have forgotten their need for grace and second chances.
Do you see yourself in the Elder brother?
Which do you struggle with more:
- A sense of obligation?
- An attitude of entitlement?
- Being judgmental?
- Unresolved resentment?