Has loving a prodigal caused me to become arrogant?

Has loving a prodigal caused me to become arrogant?

A Story by Precious Prodigal

Micah 6:8  “…what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy…


1 Cor 13:4 “charity vaunteth not itself."


As I’ve been meditating on the simple things God expects from me, I don’t have any trouble knowing He wants me to do the right thing. For the most part, I really do want to do what’s right, although I probably have my moments. However, I have a lot more trouble with the “loving mercy” part and especially understanding what it means to “love mercy.” Yesterday I wrote about love being kind. But love isn’t just kind. It is also humble. The KJV says love “vaunteth not itself.” However, the NEV says it a lot more clearly by telling us love “is not arrogant.”


Although I don’t think of myself as being arrogant, I do like being right. Don’t you? A friend recently asked me, “Would you rather be happy or right?” My immediate answer was, “But I am happy when I’m right!” Because of the terrible things we have to deal with every day, somebody needs to do and be right. And we who love a prodigal have lots of opportunities to be right. Matter of fact, we are “right” so often that it sometimes becomes impossible to see when we’re wrong. And we sometimes are…you can take that to the bank.


When we are dealing with the prodigal’s lies and destructive behavior day after day, it’s easy to lose sight of our own behavior. And it’s easy to become unreasonable, unloving and unkind, at least in our hearts, without our even realizing it. Then it’s only a baby step to letting those feelings of derision, disrespect and even contempt affect the way we talk to or about our prodigal. Well, isn’t the prodigal responsible for that? Absolutely not. You and I are the only ones responsible for our behavior. Our prodigals have enough blame to carry without having to own the things we say and do.


Does he deserve respect in spite of everything he has done and continues to do? The short answer is, “Yes.” And my inability or unwillingness to give him that respect has its root in arrogance. While I know in my heart that my prodigal is sick, I continue to expect him to act as though he is not. Where there is no recovery, can I expect him to behave in healthy ways? If there is no spirituality, is it reasonable to expect him to be spiritual? If I’m expecting him to do what he cannot do, how fair is that?


To then think I have arrived and that the only thing my prodigal needs to do is to listen to me or follow my example is arrogance at its worst. Whatever else arrogance is, it isn’t humility, it for sure isn’t love, and it’s not even in the same ballpark as mercy. The answer for me today is a big, healthy dose of “get over yourself!” I can’t even fix myself. Why in the world do I think I can fix anyone else?


Challenge for Today: Can you, just for today, take a look at your own attitude toward the prodigal? Can you ask God to make the needed changes in you so you can “love mercy?”


© 2013 Precious Prodigal

Author's Note

Precious Prodigal
July 11, 3013:
Has loving a prodigal caused me to become arrogant?
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