10 December 2017

INSPIRATION - Resentment leads to Contempt, Disdain and Failure

Image result for THE PRODIGAL SON
Rembrandt, The Return of the Prodigal Son,
 (Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg)

The things we harbour in our heart will determine the life we experience.

Recently I used my daily period of faith and inspiration to read "The Return of the Prodigal Son, A Story of Homecoming" by Henri J. M. Nouwen.

According to Quora the story of the prodigal son has been a plot, sub-plot  or back story of many films and books over the years. Star Wars and The Godfather are among those mentioned.

There have been many sermons about this famous parable by Jesus. So even though I didn't expect new insight, I was hooked to read this book because of Nouwen's regard for, and association with, the Rembrandt painting of the Prodigal Son.

Nouwen's story begins with seeing Rembrandt's famous painting on a colleague's poster. Henri is captivated by this painting, even travelling to St Petersberg to see the original. What ensues is a journey of insight, personal discovery and re-discovery for Nouwen. He begins to see in himself elements of the son, the older brother and the father. This experience awakens a desire to understand himself, his relationship with those around him and his relationship with God. The book is a very intimate and transparent sharing of this journey. The story forced me to evaluate elements of my own behaviour and faith that needed attention.

I was particularly challenged by the Older Brother's Resentment. Nouwen's examination of the older brother, brought me to admit bitterness and resentment of certain outcomes and certain people. For many of us, resentment often seems rational and even defensible. However, resentment eventually leads to contempt; Contempt ultimately swells to become disdain; and, Disdain leads to broken relationships and horrible outcomes of all sorts.

Even a casual observation shows that resentment, contempt and disdain are wrecking marriages, business partnerships, industry collaborations and political as well as economic alliances. The emotions around resentment seem to involve a feeling of superiority, and an understanding that we are more deserving. Eventually a gap develops between us and those we resent. The insidious nature of this behaviour is that we are far more likely to hurt ourselves, the ones we love and others we encounter, than what or who we resent. We must find a way to mitigate resentment in our lives.

On this Sabbath day, may you be encouraged to take stock of your life using the lens of the Older Brother in Jesus parable. May you truly celebrate those around you who find their way back home, those who experience the miracle of healing, those who enjoy financial success, a repaired relationship or some other awesome blessing.

May you discover that celebrating the blessings of others leads you to experience peace and joy instead of resentment, contempt or disdain. Peace and Joy are gifts God intends for all of us. But we must choose to receive them.

God bless!

About Executive Producer, Larry R. Evans:
Larry Evans is an experienced innovator and strategist. He is Principal of The Paradigm Corporation, which is headquartered at Thunder Ridge just outside Crossfield, Alberta, Canada. He is known for bringing a unique and predictive lens to paradigm shifts during a career that spans 45 years. Now often from his wheel chair, he brings a grounded, tenacious view of brand, ecosystems and trusted relationships for the digital age. His perspective and values influence his life, business and ministry.


The Henri Nouwen Society

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