14. Coming to Grips with God’s Grace
There was a time when I had an older brother who kept pushing me down every time I tried to get up. He would remind me of the sins I committed. He would tell me that I was of no use to anyone. He would put fear into me as to what people would try to do to hurt me. He was constantly dragging me down, just when I thought I was ready to get back up. One day, I realized that one of the worst elder brothers in my life was myself.
I do not think that I am alone in this. There are others who condemn themselves to stay down. It is the voice in their own head that is constantly reminding them of their sins. It is their own conscience that keeps accusing them. It is they their own shaming that keeps bringing them down. I have talked to so many people who after a fall made it almost impossible for themselves to get back up. Are you one of those who has become your own elder brother? What can you do to stop it? Let me give you some things I have done.
1. Stop listening to yourself. Every time you begin to accuse yourself use scripture to drown out your voice. Remind yourself of what God says so you do not listen to what you say.
2. Stop thinking so highly of yourself. Do you realize that your opinion of yourself doesn’t really matter? It doesn’t matter anymore than anyone else’s opinion of you. The only opinion that matters is, God’s opinion. His opinion is that you are his child and he loves you and accepts you for what you are.
3. Celebrate with the Father more. One of the sins of the elder brother was, he refused to celebrate the return of the prodigal with his father. We prodigals need to celebrate for ourselves more. We need to recognize that God is thrilled that we have returned, so we should be celebrating God’s grace, not refusing to enter our own welcome home party. Leave the pity party and come inside and enjoy the party God is throwing for you.
4. Stop talking to others about yourself. The older brother talked to one of the servants about his brother’s return. We often talk too much to others about our hurts and our failures. Talk about the grace of God. Talk about forgiveness. Talk about future opportunity. Stop talking about those things which are behind.
5. Live in your acceptance. I am accepted in the beloved. Regardless of my past, He has accepted me. I am living in that acceptance, rather than wallowing in my own rejection. Stop pushing yourself down and accept the fact that you are accepted in Christ.
My prodigal friend, are you your own elder brother. Stop being the one who stops you from getting up and moving forward. Perhaps you are busy blaming other elder brothers, when your worst elder brother is you.