January 12, 2018
It’s insane to me the stupid things Christians say in an effort to get people saved! Some of them make my skin crawl so badly that I almost want to dissociate from being called a Christian. In a world where believers spew judgement on entire cities, like “Hurricane Katrina is God’s punishment on Louisiana for being the modern Sodom and Gomorrah. Turn now or burn!” I’m like, “What kind of idiotic thinking is that?!” If we truly understand just how much we deserved to be judged, and just how HUGE God’s grace and mercy is that we are rather covered in Christ (and therefore judged by His standard of righteousness which is perfect), then maybe these idiotic statements would cease to flow from Christian mouths.
If we understood that we are supposed to be the father to the prodigals, and not the elder brother, maybe then we’d start to spread the true gospel—which is supposed to be Good News, folks!
Here’s more of my soapbox on today’s Flashback Friday video:
In a nutshell:
- 1 Corinthians 14 says to let two or three prophets prophesy and let the others pass judgement. So why is it that we judge people when Paul told us to judge prophecy?
- What would happen if you took an Old Testament prophet and brought them into the new covenant?
- Malachi told us what would happen—in the last days God is going to send you a prophet and, “He will restore the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers…” (Malachi 4:6)
- The Old Testament’s ministry (which used to be based in judgement) becomes a ministry of reconciliation because the prophet moved into a new covenant!
- 2 Corinthians 5:17-19 says, “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation.”
- We’ve been given the ministry of reconciliation! What’s your job? Not counting their trespasses against them. You’re not the elder brother, you’re the father in the story!
- The gospel isn’t about judgement! It’s about GOOD NEWS. We’ve been extended both mercy and grace!
- Mercy is you don’t get what you deserved. Grace is when you get what you don’t deserve. If you’re speeding and get pulled over and the cop doesn’t give you a ticket, that’s mercy. If you get pulled over for speeding and the cop gives you $1000 for speeding… that’s grace. You got what you didn’t deserve. You didn’t just get mercy, but GRACE.
- When Jesus died on the cross, by a violent act of grace, people who didn’t deserve to get in Kingdom got in—not through our works but through His!! We are hidden in Christ!
- Here’s the struggle: once you get in, the temptation is to want everyone else to get in through their works. This leads to saying outright stupid things!
- We say stupid statements like: “The Twin Towers was God’s punishment for the abortion epidemic in America!” Anyone with a brain can tell this is stupid! Why would a God, who is upset about lives being taken, respond with taking more lives!? I believe it’s an elder brother mentality that causes such nonsense to come out of people’s mouths.
- The elder brother is about punishment! But the KINDNESS of God, a good Father, leads to repentance!
Do You Have An Elder Brother Mentality?
Let’s take a look at the verses on this in Luke 15:25-32. While you read, pay attention to the response of the father vs. the response of the brother: “Now his older son was in the field, and when he came and approached the house, he heard music and dancing. And he summoned one of the servants and began inquiring what these things could be. And he said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has received him back safe and sound.’
But he became angry and was not willing to go in; and his father came out and began pleading with him. But he answered and said to his father, ‘Look! For so many years I have been serving you and I have never neglected a command of yours; and yet you have never given me a young goat, so that I might celebrate with my friends; but when this son of yours came, who has devoured your wealth with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him.’ And he said to him, ‘Son, you have always been with me, and all that is mine is yours. But we had to celebrate and rejoice, for this brother of yours was dead and has begun to live, and was lost and has been found.’”
Let’s break it down a little more. Here are some symptoms of an elder brother mentality:
- Respond to your siblings with a lack mentality. Instead of focusing on celebrating the good thing that happened, he complains about all the things he’s NOT getting.
- Anger and an unwillingness to celebrate his brother.
- Comparison, leading to self righteousness (I was always good and he was so bad! I deserve more! He deserves punishment.)
Choose the Father Heart
If any of those sound familiar then today is your day to repent (turn away) from that thinking and embrace your true identity in Christ. When we understand how much grace we ourselves walked in to enter the Kingdom, then gratitude, kindness and mercy will flow from us.
The next time you catch yourself saying something stupid and judgemental, choose to be like the father in the story instead. He celebrated his son coming home, didn’t rub his sin in his face, and threw a huge party! To keep it simple here’s one truth that I hope will help you face both your own and other people’s idiotic thoughts—kindness leads to repentance (Romans 2:4).
Do you struggle with an elder brother mentality? What other action points do you get from the parable? I’d love to hear what you’re thinking in the comments below!
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