Redefining lostness- elder brother style, Part 1

By Dave Henning / September 22, 2013

As Timothy Keller begins Chapter 5 (“The True Elder Brother”) of The Prodigal God, he states that just as the younger brother’s sin was plainly observable, so too is his spiritual lostness.  By contrast, the elder brother’s lostness is more subtle, but equally devastating.  The author then presents 5 signs of “elder brother lostness”.  The first sign is discussed  in this blog.

1.  Deep anger and bitterness.  If we have an elder brother spirit, we aren’t just sorrowful when life doesn’t go as we want.  We are deeply angry and bitter, believing that God owes us a smooth road in life if we’ve tried really hard to live up to His standards.  If we feel we’ve been living up to our moral standards and things go wrong, we’re furious with God.  On the other hand, if we’ve fallen short of our standards, we’re filled with self-loathing and inner pain.  Pastor Keller adds that an elder brother’s inability to handle pain comes from a results-oriented selfishness.  When elder brothers see someone doing better than themselves in some aspect of life, they ask, “Why that person and not me?”

Today’s question: Is deep anger and bitterness an accurate description of your current emotions following your ministry downsizing or position loss?  What are ways to give that anger and bitterness over to the Lord?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “Elder brother lostness- Part 2 (of three)”

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Dave Henning

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