A GOOD MAN . . .
but he had a Bad Spirit
By Bill burkett
The story about the two sons Luke records makes the point that what happens when we are being tested is a very serious moment to prove to us our true loyalty to Christ. Just normal life conditions around us will try us and prove what lurks inside many Christian hearts. There is a saying that, You can fool some the of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time. Sometimes things on the inside don’t come out until we are challenged by some provoking developments around us. That is the moment of our testing. We have a very good impression of this older brother all through the story until … his younger brother returned home destitute and begging his Father’s forgiveness for his disobedience. When his brother returned home to do the right thing the older brother hit the ceiling! About every kind of foul spirit you can imagine suddenly started pouring out of his life.
When I was a young man a very pious elder and board member in my home church was esteemed by everyone as a model Christian with an exemplary family life and as a student of the word. He always carried his Bible in a very special way, as if he was hugging it. He was loved and respected by all. He was also a very good speaker and worked hard to provide for his family. You could not put your finger on this brother’s life anywhere. I came home after I had finished Bible college and the pastor asked me to be his assistant. It was announced to the church and a few days later I came to the church to start my days work. As I stepped inside the foyer of the church and started walking through the empty auditorium I heard someone shouting angrily. My pastor, brother Auldine, was a quiet man and I knew it wasn’t him shouting like that. I started for the pastor’s office and soon discovered the shouting was coming from his office. It was not his voice but the pious deacon shouting at the pastor at the top of his voice demanding to know why I was appointed as assistant pastor and why he was not. I heard something banging again and again while he was yelling his demands at the pastor. He was slamming his Bible on the pastor’s desk as he shouted out one accusation after another against me and the pastor. The only reason I remained at the pastor’s door was because the man’s voice was so hostile I feared for the pastor’s safety! When his tirade ended I slipped away and to this day only my pastor knew that I was standing outside and heard everything. The incident was never mentioned by either of us to anyone. But from that day on the blessing left that brother – a good brother, but a bad spirit. It took my return to my home church to bring out what was actually in that brother’s heart. Neither the pastor or myself ever mentioned the incident to anyone, but we both witnessed the decline of that life as he turned into an angry and broken man within a few years. Brother Auldine and that brother have both passed on to their eternal reward and this is the first time I have told this story since it happened many years ago.
The true life story of the prodigal (riotous; Gr.sotos, unrestrained, indulgent lifestyle)) son and his brother, recorded in Like 15 is loaded with beautiful facets of truth we can be helped by in our everyday practical life experience as God’s children. We have two kinds of Christians represented in the two brothers; the younger prodigal was a bad brother who came to his senses with a good spirit and the older brother was a good brother who lost his senses and proved to possess a bad spirit. We must always be alert to spirits of envy and anger. In the end the bad brother repented but the good brother never did. In the end the bad brother became the good brother and the good brother turned into a bad brother. It’s the way life ends that is important sometimes. It’s not worth losing the crown.