January 29, 2020

Joyful or Resentful

Written by Boyd Bailey

Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – January 29, 2020

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. 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 with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!  Luke 15:28-30

Being joyful and being resentful cannot coexist. A friend of mine was recently overlooked for a promotion at her work. At first stunned at the initial feeling of rejection, she processed her pain in prayer and was able to not just tolerate, but celebrate with her colleague who was chosen instead of her. Resentment looks for reasons to complain, while joyful gratitude is able to embrace the mature perspective of Christ’s love at work in the bigger scheme of things. Resentment is relationally draining, but joy energizes.  

The elder son in Jesus’ famous parable of the prodigal cannot get beyond his feelings of neglect. He is not honored for being a compliant child all his days, but instead his father throws a feast for his wayward brother. His lack of attention from his “insensitive dad” boiled into anger, seeing his lascivious brother enjoy the unconditional love of their father. A motivation of loving and joyful obedience had been replaced by a drivenness of rigid rule-keeping rooted in pride. Where fear of being left out comes true, resentment rushes in to protest and squash everyone’s joy.  

“When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he relented and did not bring on them the destruction he had threatened. But to Jonah this seemed very wrong, and he became angry” (Jonah 3:10-4:1).

Has resentment robbed your joy? Are you able to celebrate another’s fortune in the face of your misfortune? One way to better understand your heart is to ask others if you are a complainer and blamer or are you grateful? Do you take responsibility for your actions? The immature obsess over the splinter in a colleague’s eye, and seek to deny or dismiss the plank of pride skewing their own perspective. Mature followers of Jesus on the other hand, rejoice when a friend’s foolish choices lead him back home to the Father’s love. Joy celebrates a heart conversion.

My life is an ongoing struggle between being the younger selfish brother, the judgmental older brother and the generous loving father. By God’s grace I am able to resist youthful greed by being grateful for what the Lord has given me, and to look for ways to share with others my abundance of time, money and experience. My quick to judge attitude of those who have yet to travel far on faith’s rough road is tempered by the severe mercy I have enjoyed from Christ’s compassion and from an accepting community. I long to receive and give the Father’s love. Joy, not resentment, is love’s fruit. Spectacular! A surrendered life full of joy is cause for celebration! 

“Forgive my failures as a young man, and overlook the sins of my immaturity. Give me grace, Lord! Always look at me through your eyes of love— your forgiving eyes of mercy and compassion. When you think of me, see me as one you love and care for. How good you are to me” (Psalm 25:6-7, TPT)!

Prayer

Loving Father, I celebrate your generous grace and mercy to me, for me to give to others, in Jesus’ name, amen.


Application

Who do I need to invite into my life to celebrate her life?


Related Reading

Genesis 37:4; Proverbs 29:3; Romans 2:1; Hebrews 4:12


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Resentment is relationally draining but joy energizes.  #WisdomHunters #joy #truth #Jesus


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