In American Society today, there exists a feeling that those who have transgressed, whether against individuals, family members, or society at large, need to be held responsible for their actions. The more severe the transgression, the more severe the punishment. It is not unheard of in these times, for example, that a parent may let his or her child spend a few nights in jail in order to "teach them a lesson". Even if the child seems to understand the severity of his or her actions, and shows regret for these actions, punishment may still be dealt out in the name of "tough love". In The Parable of the Prodigal Son, Jesus seems to suggest that punishment is unnecessary for those who have redeemed themselves.
The two sons in this story represent several easily recognizable character traits still found in people to this day. The older son is a hard working, responsible, obedient man who expects that someday his discipline and sacrifice will pay off. Although not specifically mentioned in this short parable, it can be assumed that his share of his father's...
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...f they show regret. A problem with the father's solution to his wayward son, however, is that it may encourage this very type of behavior to continue in others who decide there is no consequence to their actions, as long as they repent, or pretend to repent, in the end. In this parable, it is easy to see that the prodigal son has been redeemed, and deserves compassion from his father. However, judging the salvation of an actual person is never as simple.
"The Parable of the Prodigal Son". Bible, King James Version. Luke 15:11-32.
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