These verses remind me of something my husband has said from time to time and that is this "One man's gain is not your loss." The older brother lost nothing of his inheritance nor was his position as his father's son affected by his younger brother's behavior or treatment, so why did he get angry?
What would cause us to get angry or jealous when a co-worker gets promoted ahead of us, or someone drives a nicer car or lives in a bigger house or has children we so desperately want ourselves or etc., etc., etc.? What's even worse, what if these people were in rebellion with the Father or even rejected Him out right as depicted by the prodigal?
This "slippery slope" starts when we take our focus off our own relationship with God and start looking around and comparing ourselves with others. Grace by this point has been laid by the wayside. Behavior and performance become the focus instead and our attitude will go "down hill" from there every time. Entitlement replaces humility...not pretty...and when anger, jealousy or an attitude of entitlement are ushered in, judgment of others is sure to follow. Remember collateral damage from last week?
The good news is that if we engage in a growing intimate relationship with God and His Word then what those around us are doing or achieving seems less relevant because our fulfillment comes from Him and His provision for us. God transforms our attitude because He transforms our hearts and our judgment of others is replaced with not only compassion for them but a burden for their souls as well. Collateral healing.
My husband and I have had the privilege of walking the ruins of Krakow-Plaszow concentration camp represented in the movie Schindler's List, along with Auschwitz and Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camps. Over the entrance gates of Auschwitz reads Arbeit Macht Frei which translated means "Work sets you free."
That sign was a deception, just as the deception of believing that our "works set us free." Works alone can never set us free. It is by the gift of grace and grace alone that God sets us free from the bondage of sin Ephesians 2:7-9 NKJV. His grace replaces our "works" into loving obedience that flows from a grateful heart. I believe our loving obedience to the Father speaks louder than any words we could ever utter James 1:21-25 NKJV.
We left the gates of those camps of our own free will when some one and one half million others did not have that privilege. We stood outside of Schindler's Factory as well and we will never forget those experiences, at least I pray we never do.
Walking those steps in Poland made me realize that man's inhumanity to man seems to have no boundaries.We are indeed lost souls in need of a Savior, not unlike those from the death camps. Through God's grace He made a way through Jesus Christ to provide that Savior Romans 1:15-17 NKJV.
Grace is a mysterious thing, at least to me. Such sacrifice was required for us to obtain it, yet is is freely given to those who believe Ephesians 2:7-9 NKJV AMAZING. If we truly are grateful for the gift of grace then obedience to the Father becomes our small offering, as inadequate as it may seem.
I am reminded of the ending scene in the movie Schindler's List in which Oskar Schindler illustrates his remorse over not saving just one more person from the death camps...