November 26, 2018
The older brother was so angry that he would not go into the house; so his father came out and begged him to come in. But he spoke back to his father, ‘Look, all these years I have worked for you like a slave, and I have never disobeyed your orders. What have you given me? …. ‘My son,’ the father answered, ‘you are always here with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be happy, because your brother …. was lost, but now he has been found.’”
(Luke 15:28-29,31-31 GNT)
Resentment Clouds the Air (2)
The people at the bottom of the socio-economic scale don’t have time to be resentful. They are just trying to survive. That’s one of the startling points Francis Fukuyama makes in his book “Identity: The Demand for Dignity and the Politics of Resentment”.
Those like us who are on higher points on the scale seem to find all sorts of reason for resentment. And it is not necessarily based on real loss or deprivation. But it seems to be directed at others who are seen to be getting away with something of which we disapprove.
Jesus tells a story of two brothers estranged from their father. One gets his share of the estate and wastes it self-indulgently – only to be welcomed home with a party when he has hit bottom. The other brother resents the welcome the rule-breaker receives from their father. He ends up more estranged from the father than the wastrel.
Jesus pointed his story at the “good” people who resented his hospitality to those who didn’t “deserve” it – in their less than humble opinion. It seems to me that a lot of us are like that older brother – we have a lot, but resent others coming into our space.
The heart of the eternal Father invites us to lose our resentment, appreciate what we have and exercise our responsibility with charity.
A Prayer for Today
Loving Father, by his life, death and resurrection Jesus has become our powerful older brother. Help me to emulate his generous love and kindness to the least. Help me have his clear-eyed sense of the misuse of power and religion that burdens rather than liberates. Help me to live like our Older Brother …. For Jesus’ sake