A Deadly Spiritual Condition
In our series, “Forgiven”, we are looking at Jesus' encounter with a Pharisee and an intruder. Jesus can tell a lot about us by our response to circumstances and conditions of our world. In the condition of the two prodigal sons Jesus takes no sides. He is on the side of neither, the religious nor the irreligious. Jesus singles out religious moralism as a particularly deadly spiritual condition. Religious moralism takes its effect on the culture and becomes a separation point between people who may like Jesus, but do not like the Church; people who like the elder brother for his religious moralism, but disdain the younger brother because of his self-discovery. The elder brother's moral conformity is the same problem the Pharisees had with Jesus.
How do we deal with this deadly spiritual condition of religious moralism? People will stay away from the Church as long as elder brothers are in charge of it. A lack of forgiveness and tolerance for the sinner will keep people away in droves. If we do not declare the same message that Jesus had, then our churches are not appealing to younger brothers, and they must be more full of elder brothers than we'd like to think.
Do you forgive those who do not conform to your way of thinking? Those whom you hold in contempt for their lack of religious morality? These are serious questions that the Church must address or we will see more separation and eventual alienation between the Church and the culture in which we live.