Many of you have been around people who can barely contain their feeling of disdain toward you. You leave these encounters feeling dishonored. What makes the word “disdain” so demeaning is discovering its dictionary meaning – “the feeling that someone or something is unworthy of one's consideration or respect”. At the core of disdain is the sense that someone is not worthy of our time, our consideration or even the Father’s love.
The older brother in the story of the Prodigal Son was a person who lived with feelings of disdain toward his younger, wayward brother. The older brother lived his life trying to earn his father’s love through performance while maintaining a hardened heart. The younger brother was returning from a life of disobedience, but with a changed heart. The former is an expression of dead religion. The latter is the core of our New Covenant relationship with God.
No matter how hard you try to perform for someone with an older brother’s heart of disdain, you will never measure up to the deformed concept of worth they possess. They have encased their lives in a rigid performance mentality and they use that mentality as a grid through which they evaluate your life.
In those moments when the drip of disdain becomes a flood of judgment – as in the case of the returning Prodigal Son- turn away from the disdain and face the welcoming smile of your Heavenly Father. Receive the robe and ring and settle into His embrace. When the party to celebrate your return begins you are free to dance with joy and eat the fattened calf. Let the Father’s love for you become the true measure of your worth, not the looks and comments that come from people still trapped in a prison of disdain and dishonor.