Acid Forgiveness: Only in Jesus, Part 12

by | Apr 22, 2020 | Forgiveness, Only in Jesus

“‘Your brother has come,’ he replied, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’ The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders.'” (Luke 15:27,28 NIV)

His heart was definitively not in serving his Father, was it? And he goes on . . .

“Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours who has squandered your property . . .” (Luke 15:29 NIV)

And you can almost hear him say, “Which should be mine soon!”

“. . . With prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!” (Luke 15: 30 NIV)

In other words, “How dare you!”

How would we have reacted if one of our siblings had spent large amounts of money, taken from our parents, on frivolous living and prostitutes? Don’t we all, either directly or indirectly, experience similar situations?

How would we feel seeing our parents downtrodden and scared? (Interestingly, parents are generally not nearly as concerned about their own life as about their wayward children!)

Imagine seeing this sibling suddenly show up, after years of not hearing from him. How much more irritating this would be if our parents welcome him with open arms, focusing all their attention on the one who has hurt them so much. “Mom, dad, he swindled your money the first time! Don’t you realize he’ll do it again?”

And imagine if we had made plans with our parents for that same evening, plans that took us away from our busy schedules. And now our plans have been thrown aside in favor of the one who shows only disdain towards our parents! How infuriating!

Aren’t we the ones who take care for our parents? And now this errant sibling is the one who is heralded as the hero! Life is really unfair! We have not been recognized for who we really are! No one sees that WE are the ones who have been caring for our parents!

Wait a minute. Is it possible we may have some self-interest in this deal?

It is clear in the story of the Prodigal son that the motives of the older brother were far from being pure. Is it possible that our motives aren’t that pure either? Are we, perhaps, too focused on controlling our parents? On shaping them into doing exactly what we have planned for them? On controlling their finances, their lives, and especially their bank account? After all, isn’t our own inheritance on the line here? This is most definitely what it seemed the older brother expected, and now his plans were being destroyed right in front of his eyes. And all thanks to this worthless sibling.

But wait. Was this sibling truly worthless?

He sure wasn’t in the eyes of his father . . .

Haven’t we also sinned? Haven’t we lost our way to Heaven? Are we truly that much better than this errant brother?

Yes we may not have squandered our parents’ money, and we may not have ended up in prison, but doesn’t it say somewhere that “There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.” (Rom 3:10-12 NIV)?

Maybe, just maybe it’s time for us to step down off of our beloved pedestal and let God be in charge. Maybe, just maybe it’s time that we start to love without any self-interest in the matter, just as Jesus did and still does. Didn’t He encourage us to:

1. “You, then, why do you judge your brother?” (Rom 14:10 NIV)

2. “Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” (Col 3:13 NIV)

3. “As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” (John 13:34 NIV)

After all isn’t he our flesh-and-blood brother? The one who found total freedom by returning home?

Isn’t unforgiveness a way of controlling those who have hurt us? But in all honesty, it hurts us more! It’s like an acid bath gnawing through our intestines.

Speaking of acid unforgiveness, this year a mobster in Italy had a hard time forgiving his girlfriend for, among many other things, running away with their daughter! (In reality, it was the daughter who ran away!) He found the solution to his problem. He shot his girlfriend dead. After torturing her, naturally. And he then dissolved her body in 50 litres of acid in a rural warehouse. And just to ensure that every part of her body was dissolved, he posted gang members to watch this vat for 3 days.

It was simply the perfect crime. No evidence of this crime could ever be found. Why forgive if we can dissolve the problem?

But in the end, he and his gang members were sentenced for life in prison. What he hadn’t anticipated was that his own daughter would denounce him.

Unforgiveness is truly acidic. It’s true that it affects everyone, but it mostly distresses the one who doesn’t forgive. Bitterness, as well as frustration for being out of control, are the only results.

Forgiveness is within our control however, and with it, inner peace, acceptance and happiness.

Isn’t it time we throw away our vat of acidity?

Rob Chaffart

(To access the entire “Only in Jesus” devotional series, please click here.)


Acid Forgiveness: Only in Jesus, Part 12