I have often been fascinated by the bitter son in the story of the Prodigal. I have not lived a perfect life by any stretch of the imagination, but I also wouldn't consider myself a total prodigal – especially having become a Christian at four years of age and never straying too far from a relationship with the Lord. In light of that, the bitter son fascinates me because it's more likely that I would fall into that category than into the other. Rather than being excited at his brother's return, that son is angered by the fact that his brother didn't receive a just punishment for his foolish living and squandering of the father's resources. Ultimately the older brother lacked grace. I think this is a danger for all people who haven't moved too far from faith – the danger of withholding grace from others. The reality, however, is that when a person withholds grace and forgiveness from someone else he has not come to grips with the grace and forgiveness he has received from the Father through Christ's death (see my post on forgiveness here). When that realization is made, it's impossible to hold anything against anyone else. Beware of becoming the bitter son, and be thankful that, through the Lord's grace, He has saved you from the consequences that the prodigals face as a result of their choices. The same grace that saved a prodigal out of his sin kept you from it in the first place.
You are here: / / The Bitter Son (Luke 14-15)
Seth is a pastor, author, and speaker who lives in Batesville, Indiana. He is married to Kari, and they have two daughters, Madelyn and Noelle.