Older Brother Syndrome

03 Aug

Hello again!

This is what God gave me today in His word:

“Now his older son was in the field, and as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing. And he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant. 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 was angry and refused to go in. His father came out and entreated him, but he answered his father, ‘Look, these many years I have served you, and I never disobeyed your command, yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours came, who has devoured your property with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him!’ And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. It was fitting to celebrate and be glad, for this your brother was dead, and is alive; he was lost, and is found.'” (Luke 15:25-32)

Older brother syndrome, as I like to call it, is easy for any Christian to get into. Older brother syndrome has three main causes: jealousy, pride, and hate. It typically displays itself, in jealousy of another’s gifts, in thinking that we are somehow better than another Christian, and in hate towards another Christian.

Older brother mode is easy for anyone (including myself) to slip into. When we think that, because we aren’t falling in an area that a fellow believer is falling in, we are somehow better, we experience a bit of the older brother syndrome. Likewise when we hate someone because something good happened to them that didn’t happen to us, or when we’re jealous because someone can do something better than us. We’ve all experienced periods, no matter how brief, of older brother syndrome. But how can we overcome it? Do we perhaps need some sort of medication for this “syndrome”?

No, what we need is Jesus. No one has more right than Him to act like the older brother in this parable, and complain that we should be allowed to enter Heaven. But He’s gone as far as possible in the exact opposite direction of playing the part of the older brother. (Which makes sense, as He is the one who gave His very life so that we may live.) And He can enable us to do the same. If we ask, He will give, if we knock, the door will be opened (etc.). So, let’s not grow into older brother’s, instead, let’s let Christ grow us up to be more like Him.

You are Loved!

Joshua Cleveland


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