Thereís this analogy in the Bible about two brothers.
Probably youíve heard it before. And thatís fine. It wonít kill you to hear it again.
One brother follows rules. He works. Heís committed. Why? It doesnít say. It just says heís a policy and procedures type of guy. And thatís fine.
And then heís got this brother who wakes up one morning and decides heís entitled to an early inheritance. Which dear old Dad gives him. And he goes off to a far away place, one Iíve always visualized as first century Vegas.
For a while itís one big freaking party.
And then the money is gone. Just like that.
So after a life choice disaster, this character returns home, hoping for a job feeding his fatherís pigs.
Instead, get this, Dad welcomes him back. He throws a party. Heís thrilled because the lost son is now home.
But his brother is not. He wonít enter the party. Heís mad. Because his sense of entitlement resents the display. After all, why should he be rewarded for a show of theater so daring?
I love this analogy because most of us see ourselves as one or the other: the rule follower or the rule breaker. And Iíve always heard this story marginalizing the role of the rule follower.
After all, heís not the presumptuous one who requested an early inheritance to party down.
And because I know my own faults and shortcomings, I identify with the brother who left. Messing up isnít a new thing for me.
But the topic of ďGoogledĒ brought on the realization that I, indeed, am a combination of the two. And Iím guessing so are you. Let me explain:
When I reach about a six or seven on the ďIím irritated with youĒ scale, I will Google your name.
Yes, this is childish. And I never find anything. That is, except once.
I worked with a guy who was amazingly cut-throat for someone in a field as limited as education. Iíd seen him lie, cheat, and steal first hand to get what he wanted.
And one exceptionally ridiculous afternoon, one in which I had incredible difficulty letting go of, I Googled him.
And this time, the only time, I found something of interest.
Teachers, doctors, and nurses walk a tighter line than the rest of the professional universe. A misstep can cost a license. A career, not just a position, can end in the blink of an eye.
And upon my request for information from the cyber universe there in all its glory was the crime.
And then I didnít know what to do.
They say knowledge is power, but sometimes itís just downright uncomfortable. I was torn towards my own sense of justice and fearful I made a deal with a cold metal cyber devil. And my brain kept saying ďthatĒ perhaps shouldnít get a second chance. In anything.
See? Just like that I was the rule follower. I was smug. I judged him pretty severely because I didnít like him.
Had it been anyone else, Iíd argued it was stupid. And that he could overcome such a thing. And if he truly had, no one was in danger. Instead, because I didnít like him, I simmered indignantly, waiting to use the information.
By the way, the window of opportunity never happened. This was disappointing for a while. Now Iím relieved.
Because, honestly, I spend far too much time pretending to be the good one, thinking following rules makes me good. Well, it doesnít.
In the parable the myth of legalistic rules indicating goodness is shattered as the brother points out, Ēthis son of yours . . . has squandered your property with prostitutesĒ.
And the question in return is this: what are you prostituting yourself to get?
And if you are not lost, why didnít you go and chase after the lost one?
Because on some level, weíre all lost. The ones of us who realize this are far less likely to damage themselves beyond repair. They can be vulnerable. They can accept love because they can show love.
The rest of us, unfortunately, work with a furrowed forehead, squinting at the project ahead of us. We spend far too much time considering things which donít matter, forgetting one very important fact: God is in control. And if I only trusted Him . . .
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