Welcome to Day 6 of our Bible Study on Anger: SIGN UP to receive our studies via e-mail.
Devotional Insight: In today’s lesson we see how little things reveal our lack of compassion and grace towards others. We take examples from Jonah, and the Elder brother of the Prodigal son.
Key Scriptures: Luke 15: 11-32, Jonah 4, Micah 7:18
When God’s Compassion Upset Us
We often read the story of the prodigal son and nod our heads at his father’s love and the lost son’s return. We are quick to identify with the prodigal but much less with the older brother in the story. Truth is, the elder brother’s role matters in the story.
He was angry. He felt left out. He felt he deserved more than this younger rebellious brother. In our hearts we may think the father had been unfair in a certain way but that’s not true.
Was the elder brother fighting for love he already had?
Was he fighting for recognition?
What was his anger justified?
In reality many of us especially long time believers often all into this trap.
We begin to feel worthy of the grace we have received. We are beguiling ourselves to think our works have kept us relevant in God’s kingdom.
The grace of God was given while we were yet sinners. Very right we have stayed and served in the Kingdom but nothing we do can pay out the debt Christ has already paid through His Blood. For this reason His grace cannot be bought with price let alone by our works.
Why was the older brother unhappy?
Do you think in some cases you have felt this way?
What should our response be instead?
Do you think God is unfair?
Like the prodigal, the elder brother also received grace. His father went out to plead with him just as he went out to reach the prodigal son. God clearly is unhappy when we fell cheated or angry towards him.
Look closely at his father’s kind and reassuring words
“My son”, the father said, you are always with me and everything I have is yours. 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 15:31-32
There was no need to contend for his father’s love or his presence or his recognition. The older brother had it already but didn’t realize it. Just as we who are saved already belong to God. 1Corinthians 3:19-23
There was no need to fight for possession or his heritage. We have our heritage in Christ. Ephesians 1:11-17. And God has given us all that we need for life and godliness. 2 Peter 1:3
The elder brother lacked joy. Joy in seeing others enjoy God’s divine mercies. That is a kicker. Joy springs up from within when we rejoice when others have their miracles.
His father loved him just as he loved the lost son.
His father valued his presence.
If ever we have complained that a young sister is doing wondrously for the Lord,
If ever we feel others are not deserving of the promotion they have received,
If ever we are angry that someone other than us is recognized for work well done and not us then we are just like the “Elder Brother”.
What must we do when we feel this way? It is call to repentance and acceptance of God’s love or us.
We ought to remember, God loves us and values us. He sees all the little kindness and acts of service that we do sincerely in His name.
God’s desire is that all men be saved and come to know Him 1 Timothy 2: 4. However way He chooses to draw men to Him, He will do as He pleases. Whether or not He uses your gifts or another person’s, God will certainly bring back his lost sheep. That’s how much grace He has for the lost.
But do we get this level of God’s compassion?
Do we have it in us to yearn for the lost world?
When we think we have a right to be angry even at God, then we miss the whole point of grace, compassion and love.
Jonah too got angry. Jonah was angry at God’s compassion towards Nineveh. He valued a plant more than the lives that had been saved.
It seems rather confusing to have a prophet feel God’s love was directed to the “wrong people”. A little bit of entitlement and prode speaking when think we can tell God who to show compassion to and who to destroy.
Do you enjoy that the wicked perish in their wickedness?
Do you secretly smile watching others fall because we think it is a punishment or their sin?
How should you respond when the “wrong people” turn to Christ?
What Jonah forgot and many times that includes us, is we are all saved by grace and none of us deserving of His gracious mercies and compassion. Yet God chose to save us from the miry clay. Yet Christ died and hung on the old rugged cross for you and me.
We were once the “wrong people” Colossian 1:21
There’s a caution for us who love little judgment seats to mete out our thoughts on other people. It is pride to label others as undeserving.
God desires that all men come to the knowledge of truth. Ezekiel 18:32
It is pride to judge others from a perspective that we are perfect. Or from the perspective they are undeserving of grace and forgiveness.
To rebuke sin takes courage – to tell the truth as it is. Acts 14:3
But forgiveness takes love – a heart choosing to overlook all wrong by a brother or sister. Proverbs 17:9 and John 20:23
Compassion helps us save others and pull them out of the fire of destruction. Jude 1:22-23
It is easier to see where others falter and fail than ours. Matthew 7:5
On more than one occasion, we may find ourselves in this position, treating our pride as deserving of consideration. God help us humble our hearts and follow in His steps with love.
Words of Affirmation.
My heart is full of compassion for the lost.
I am full of God’s love.
God helps me forgive and walk in love.
Remember God’s compassion in your life. It will help you choose compassion for others.
Ask for grace and a heart of compassion for others.
Pray consistently for the lost and that your heart sincerely longs that the ungodly turn to Christ.
Dear Father forgive me in ways I have judged others too harshly or adjudged them to be undeserving of your mercies. Give me a humble heart and let me serve with love and compassion just as you, Jesus. Help me to see the way you see them and act in love towards others regardless of their attitudes in Jesus name. Amen.
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