Saturday, February 28, 2009

The (Still) Angry Brother

As we have the past two days, we are looking at student views on the older brother in the Prodigal Son parable. Does mercy make us angry? From a human standpoint, the answer is sometimes, YES. Many of my students insist the father should have at least meted out some form of punishment before welcoming the wanderer back home. Here are a few samples of the thoughts of both eighth and tenth graders.
"The older brother has a right to be mad because the younger brother gets treated differently, being rewarded when he should be punished. I don't understand why the father would welcome the younger brother when he should be punished. He took everything and only came home because he had nothing left. Also, just because the younger brother was gone for awhile does not mean he deserves a feast. The older brother should be treated with more respect and not taken advantage of because he did so much for so little. He should be mad because the younger brother doesn't deserve anything. The older brother does the work and doesn't ask for much . He deserves so much more than what the father gives him. Overall, I don't think it was right for the father to put the younger brother above the older one or even welcome him with more respect. Instead, he should have punished him for all the things he did and did not do."

"The older brother had a right to be angry but I think he should also have had an open heart. At the end of the day, he has to remember that this naive, irresponsible, disobedient boy is still his brother....and he should forgive him. It's about building each other up, not thinking of ways to tear each other down. Everyone deserves a second chance, no mantter how big or how many the sins. No sin is greater than another and it's still a forgivable sin."

"The older brother has a right to be angry because he followed all the rules and respected his father, just as the Bible says we should. The younger son did not respect his father and he did not try to save one penny of the amount of money he was given! If it was me, I would be angry because as a Christian, we should follow God's laws and if we see a sinner being rewarded for breaking the Law, it makes you feel as if you should re-think Christianity."

"I think the older brother should have been happy for his little brother. He would have enjoyed the day more if he had been more selfless. He could have taken the day off and had fun but instead, he was mad all day. Life is more enjoyable when you are selfless."

"I believe the older brother had the right to be angry. The older brother was good in every way and he had never been cheered for. The father had the right to be happy when he saw his youngest child but the brother's emotion is to be expected."

"The older son had a RIGHT to be angry because he did everything right but the younger brother was treated better. If people don't have punishment, they do not learn. BUT, I don't think he should have been angry. It was the father's choice to forgive him, which the older brother probably should have done, too. His father was just glad his son found his way home. "
Paris"It can go both ways. I understand that it is important to have the son back who has been missed. I also understand how the older son would feel mad and rejected. But even though we think it might not be fair, the less fortunate should come first. In this story, that means the older son still owns everything and the son that lost it all needs more attention."
Applicable quote of the day:
"Never cease loving a person, and never give up hope for him, for even the prodigal son who had fallen most low, could still be saved; the bitterest enemy and also he who was your friend could again be your friend; love that has grown cold can kindle”
Soren Kierkegaard
God bless,
Luke 18:1www.hawleybooks.comE-mail me at

No comments: