In Luke 15:11-32, the Lord was not only merciful and gentle with the prodigal son, but also with the older unforgiving son, urging him to repent of his sins: jealousy, a lack of forgiveness, hostility, etc. A proud, self-righteous attitude grieves the Lord deeply. Its impossible for such a person to reflect His humble, gentle spirit. Also, pride always causes division. God desires unity among His followers.
In Luke 15:29 (NIV) the angry brother said, “…All these years Ive been slaving for you…” (The emphasis is mine.) He perceived his work as slaving. As a young mom, I struggled with feeling sorry for myself when I perceived my role as one of a “slave” to my family, instead of seeing it as a joy and a blessing to be home full time, serving a wonderful husband and three precious children. The jealous brother focused on what his father hadn’t done for him, instead of focusing on the blessings he had received. Thus, he became jealous of his younger brother, instead of rejoicing with everyone over the brother’s return.
As a young mother, it dampened my spirit when my children weren’t willing to help me, and I was delighted when they cheerfully assisted me. As God’s child, it pleases His heart when I obey Him cheerfully.
I pray the Lord will grant me a cheerful heart that wants to serve Him in whatever humble way He chooses and help me not to get that slave mentality that only causes resentment and despair.