This is from a member of our community, Debbie Basehore’s blog:

“…the older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. But he answered his father,’Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’ ‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.'” – Luke 15:28-32

We are all the prodigal son. There is not one of us that is without sin and therefore there is not one of us who has at one time or another not been separated from the Father. But so often we take on the air of the older brother in relation to those in the body of Christ around us. We assume that since we have given longer years of service or have not been lost in the same manner that we are due a greater pleasure or service from God. When we enter into this mindset we lose sight of the Spirit of grace. Grace is that which affords joy, pleasure, delight, sweetness, charm, and loveliness; to have favor, elegance, and acceptance.

The bitterness of the older brother ran so deep he would not even recognize the prodigal son as his brother. Do we do this? Do we acknowledge some fellow believers as children of the Father but fail to accept them as our brothers and sisters, harboring instead resentment and jealousy? I see this attitude a lot in the organized church – the spirit of eliteness. It is nothing other than pride and is a foul and evil spirit.

Romans 5:20 tells us that “where sin increased, grace increased all the more.” Grace can be measured in the distance covered in the return to the Father. The passage goes on to explain that this does not mean we continue in sin. But where sin has been dealt with and forgiven it is not our job to dig it back up. This is also a result of an evil spirit. The Holy Spirit is a spirit of conviction, not of guilt. Conviction leads to repentance but there is no place in God’s family for guilt.

We have all experienced grace and should take joy with our fellow brothers and sisters when they too can experience and partake of the grace of God. Acts 20:32 defines words of grace as words which build up and give an inheritance. Instead of being selfish with our inheritance let us share in the inheritance by building each other up. This is the true Spirit of Grace and a spirit we should all desire greatly to have in our lives. The next time you find yourself wanting to bite with words that hurt and question the validity of a brother or sister’s experience with grace, remember your spirit of grace – it is the most valuable gift God has given anyone, and it is meant to be shared. We are all prodigal sons. There is no one who is self-righteous. Jesus came to us in grace and truth. We should aspire to be full of grace and truth as well.