When you feel like the Older Brother

Nov 13, 2015

older brother, jealous


It’s an older brother kind of day…


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!

“My son,” the father said, “you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.” ~ Luke 15: 28-31


We know the story of the Prodigal Son. Younger brother left home to sow his wild oats and took his inheritance with him. He squandered it all on loose living and looser women just to come home and have his father throw a party. It is great to be the prodigal in this story. You have forgiveness, you have hope, you have a new lease on life.

What about when we are the older brother?

When I found out my sister-in-law was pregnant I grieved. I wanted to be angry, but I couldn’t so I was sad instead. I grieved the excitement of not being the first in providing a grandchild to that side of the family. I grieved not having a child of my own. I grieved the loss of the focus being on me and my accomplishments, which seemed to pale in comparison to creating a little person.

Here we have a true story of redemption. They get married, find out they are having a baby, and turn back to God. Hooray! Kill the fattened calf! Bring on the chocolate cake and punch! Let’s party! The baby comes. She’s healthy. It’s exciting. The first grandchild, the first great niece. The first.

Then there is the older brother. I wonder what about me? You celebrate with them, but I have been here all along. Where is my celebration?  

I can imagine what the older son felt when he walked up to the house. He has been working all day in the fields tending to the affairs of his father. No one told him his brother was home. No one invited him to the party.  He has seen his father grieving for years. Perhaps, the primary responsibility for the estate fell onto his shoulders. And here he returns after a hard day of work and sees a party going on. He was expecting a simple dinner, and maybe he had business to go over with his father. And then his brother returned and ruined everything.

It is hard during older brother moments. Often we feel justified in our anger and grief because we feel we deserve it, it is owed to us. It matters not what “it” may be. We want it anyway.

During these times we need to make an extra effort to turn to our Father rather than away. To fall into His arms and let Him know how angry we are, how hurt we are, and how we know He can bring healing to the hurting person inside of us.

I met my niece and she is perfect. Ten fingers and ten toes, and she makes the most precious baby sounds. It hurts, but this relationship is not about me. It is about loving bigger than myself. Loving my in-laws, niece, and family. Loving because that’s what we are called to do, even when it hurts. {Tweet that!}

Are you going through an Older Brother moment? Share in the comments what you’re walking through, not to commiserate about how unfair life is, but to build each other up and move our focus back to what is important, our call to Love.


There are a lot of new women in our community over the last few weeks. Welcome! I am so glad you’re here! Our desire is to walk with you and help you connect to God through good times and hard ones like in this post.

If you are going through a hard time right now, whether you’re in an “older brother” moment and feeling like you don’t quite measure up, or struggling to overcome situations in your past, you may enjoy the study we’re doing on the book The Search for Significance. It’s about learning how to overcome Satan’s lies about us with God’s truths. We’re in the middle of the study but don’t feel like you need to catch up.

I write the Monday Bible study posts so you can take away something whether you’re participating or not. If you would like to do the Search for Significance study, all the posts and reading plans are available under our Online Bible Study Tab for you. So grab a few friends and jump on in from the beginning!

This is such a busy time of year (Can you believe Thanksgiving is just two weeks away!?), and it is so hard to stay connected to God at times. Watch for a post next Wednesday with some short study ideas to help you and your family connect with God during your holiday season.

Do you find it hard to study the Bible?

It doesn’t have to be.

Let me help you learn a technique for studying that makes it simple. Join me as we study one chapter each week and memorize two verses of scripture each month.

You’ll be amazed at the difference it makes in your life.

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