By: Darrelyn L. Tutt

Now his elder son was in the field; and as he came and drew night to the house, he heard music and dancing. And he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant. And he said unto him, Thy brother is come, and thy father has killed the fatted calf, because he hath received him safe and sound. And he was angry and would not go in; therefore came his father out and intreated him. And he answering said to his father, Lo, these many years do I serve thee, neither transgressed I at any time thy commandment; and yet thou never gavest me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends. But as soon as this thy son was come, which hath devoured thy living with harlots, thou hast killed for him the fatted calf. And he said unto him, Son, thou art ever with me and all that I have is thine. It was meet that we should make merry and be glad; for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost and is found.
Luke 15:25-32
Today's Read: Luke 15; Psalm 19
Impaired Vision.
There's nothing in the world quite like comparison to throw us off our game, dislocate our moral niceties, and reveal unsettled matters in the soul.
Hmmm ...
Hardworking. Achieving. Industrious. Faithful. Devoted. Loyal.
The eldest brother is the defining of all these terms; the epitome of all that is good, decent, right and fair.
Is there anything that can defeat or disrupt such noble behavior?
Is there anyone who can disrupt and disarm such benevolent qualities?
Unfortunately ... yes.
All it takes is a character of contrast to upset the apple cart.
The unforeseeable and untimely return of the prodigal son has an extraordinary affect on the prodigal's older brother.
His physical entrance is bad enough ... but it's the father's response that garners the unleashed frenzy tucked deep inside the recess of the elder brother's soul.
It's the Father's merciful posture toward the returning prodigal son that is the undoing of the eldest brother's finest qualities.
Hmmm ...
-Why must we care about this slothful, indulgent man who spends money frivolously and recklessly and then returns home with nothing but pig crap on his feet?
-Why must we care about this cheap "run-away" who has slept with an unlimited number of harlots and then wishes for a clean bed under his Father's roof?
-Why should we care if a sinful pathetic prodigal makes a journey home and says he's sorry when it's all been said and done?
-Why should we care if a brother is left destitute to his own poor decisions?
The eldest brother throws the gavel down strong and firm on every count of indecency upon the man called the "prodigal" who happens to be his younger brother.
He is guilty of all charges and he deserves to be condemned.
Be done with him, declare a verdict of him, sentence him.
He should get what he deserves and servant's quarters would be generous under the circumstances.
The Father's employed concern for the "good" son touches me deeply and profoundly. Just as he "went out" to meet his youngest son, the parable reads that the Father comes out and intreats the older son.
This is powerfully provoking and suggestive of compassionate love needed and extended to the "deserving" son as well as the "undeserving" son.
They are both alike ...
Both sons need and desire the love of the Father.
But the older brother cannot see this; his "virtues" are his sole source of vision.
The realization and expression of repressed resentment buried beneath the exterior of superior qualities displays itself refusing to be mullified by the Father's loving overtures to the eldest brother.
Vision is impaired,
Judgement is impaired.
The older brother works to substantiate his qualities to the Father, and speak in contemptable terms of his unacceptable brother.
Working so hard ... and achieving so little.
Curiously, he works to redefine the order of the family and place "himself" as the one at the head.
Do we not see that the eldest son has made himself "The Judge" over even the Father now?
And do we not see that the love of the Father is completely unhampered by the judgement of the brother?
Beautiful and suggestive love indeed.
Completely, entirely, irrevocably dependent on nothing but the loving character of God.
The blood runs free and mercy flows strong when the "repentant" returns home.
The Father is waiting.
Who doesn't want to return home to that kind of love?
Hmmm ...
Revelations about the heart are a deep mystery and sometimes they are deeply painful, for all of us. The older son and the younger son both had "heart issues" to tackle.
Vision is impaired when the focal point is not on the Father;
Vision is made whole when the focal point becomes the Father.
Feet follow focal point.
Whoever you are,
Whichever son you are,
Return home.
The Father is waiting.
"For he shall have judgement without mercy, that hath showed no mercy; and mercy rejoiceth against judgment."
James 2:13

Three Study Suggestions:
1) Read God's word carefully and consider who "you" are in the Father's story.
2) What condition is your heart in and what virtues do you declare about yourself?
3) What is your understanding of the Father and his sons?