In the Gospel of Luke, Christ Jesus shares a parable about a father and his two sons (see 15:11–32). The older son stays at home with his father, obediently tending to the family business, while the younger son leaves and spends his inheritance on a life of debauchery. The parable is mostly dedicated to the younger son’s turnaround and the father’s unconditional love for him; the story of the older brother and this brother’s own need for reformation is left unconcluded. Jesus speaks only of the older brother’s anger—an anger the brother justified by pointing to the faults of his younger sibling—and his unwillingness to join the celebration when this sibling returns after a long absence.
When reading this story over the years, I found myself relating more to the feelings and behaviors of the older brother. But by praying to better understand his plight instead of just relating to his feelings of resentment, I learned lessons that helped resolve a distressing family situation a few years ago.
Through a series of events, our family had to come face to face with a younger sibling’s serious longtime drug addiction. Over the years there had been hints of her addiction, but because she lived in a different state, it was easy for her to conceal it from the family. But once we were living in the same city and seeing her on a regular basis, the addiction was uncovered and needed to be addressed. I prayed about each decision regarding her care and rehabilitation. Divine Love led us to place her in a facility where she had to deal seriously and directly with her addiction. Gratefully, she was able to gain her freedom, which continues to this day.