The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Getting what we never deserve

Prodigal son parable really about dad's character, unconditional love

Read Luke 15:11-32.

There is a reason why the parable of the prodigal son is famous even in the minds of those who barely know the outlines of Scripture. There is a reason why William Shakespeare alluded to it more often than any other biblical story. It's because this parable has it all: greed, envy, confession, celebration, forgiveness, bitterness, jealousy and love.

A submission to the late, legendary syndicated advice columnist, Ann Landers, read like this:

"I have three siblings. Our parents have willed half their property to us, with the remainder to go toward scholarships to the college we all attended. I feel they should give all their property to us to be used as we see fit. None of us is in financial need, but this would be a nice addition.

"I have tried to get them to see my side, but they remain adamant. Because of this, I have not spoken to them for six months. This does not seem to be working. Do you have any suggestions? — Stiffed in Iowa."

The animated columnist was full of chastisement for the Iowan's childishness. The first two words of advice summarized the entire reply: "Yes. Stop."

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