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Bulldozing through life!

“Did you finish killing everyone who was against peace?”[1]

Is this how most of us bulldoze our way through our days? We disagree with someone for whatever reason and then we go about destroying them or what they stand for and call ourselves righteous.

There is nothing wrong with analyzing a situation. The problem comes when our reaction causes an outpouring of “yuck” that puts us in the same or worse category than the one we reacted to!

Remember the parable of the prodigal son in Luke 15? The younger son took his fortune given to him by his loving father and ran off to spend it frivolously. When he came to his senses and returned, his father was ecstatic and organized a welcome party. What was the response of the older brother who at that point had stood beside the father and diligently supported him?

“The older brother stomped off in an angry sulk and refused to join in. His father came out and tried to talk to him, but he wouldn’t listen. The son said, ‘Look how many years I’ve stayed here serving you, never giving you one moment of grief, but have you ever thrown a party for me and my friends? Then this son of yours who has thrown away your money on whores shows up and you go all out with a feast!’

“His father said, ‘Son, you don’t understand. You’re with me all the time, and everything that is mine is yours—but this is a wonderful time, and we had to celebrate. This brother of yours was dead, and he’s alive! He was lost, and he’s found!’” Luke 15:28-32 MSG

Instead of coming alongside his father as he should have, the son, in his own selfishness, did the same thing the other son had done. He discarded his father’s wisdom and he turned from him. It could be argued that the second son hurt his father more than the first because the expectation of the father about his older son was that he had learned from his father and understood what was right living. But in fact, the older son did not “get it”. He, too, was selfish plus self-righteous – a very ugly combo.

Those of us who have committed ourselves to following God, as Our Father, His Son as our Savior and His Spirit as our guide have an obligation to react and respond in a way that shows God that we have learned from Him and understand how to support and celebrate with Him.

Why? Because right living is more than an expectation in eternity.

[1] The Contrariness of the Mad Farmer by Wendell Berry, Collected Poems, 1957-1982 (San Francisco: North Point, 1985) p. 121

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