The Parable I’ve Always Hated

My least favorite parable for as long as I can remember has been the prodigal son. It has always made me angry at what I considered an injustice. It doesn’t seem fair to live as the “good” son. I find myself on that side of the fence because I’ve always felt I fell into the good son category. I came to accept Christ at age 14, after going to church for a few months with my Aunt Kay. I immediately felt a passion to know and share Jesus. I organized a youth rally with very limited adult help by age 16. I have never partied, been drunk, or done what we often consider living a sinful life.


After getting married we witnessed happenings within the church body that made us decide we weren’t going to attend. We lived life away from a church for five years, but still held Christ values and lifestyle. I don’t tell you this to make myself sound sinless by any means. I promise I am quick to judge, quick to anger at times, impatient and bossy. As I’ve always felt about the good son, he wasn’t perfect he just didn’t run off to live irresponsible and totally for himself.


This is why I’ve always found a parable of a son who was greedy, selfish, a partier and living only for fleshly desires alone pretty darn unfair.


It ticked me off honestly. Why does the guy who was a complete jerk (with a capital J) get a huge party, the nicest of robes, jewelry and the best steak of his life? While the other brother, who had stayed, serving and helping his father for years dedicating himself to the work his father has for him gets none of it. There was no party. No public recognition. No filet mignon for him to feast on. No praises of his steadfast work and servant hood. No songs were sung.

our economy isn't gods economy

In verse 31 of Luke 15, the father tells the good son when he got angry “that everything I [the father] have is yours [the good son]”. To me that has sounded like a pat on the hand saying, oh, now don’t be like that. I’ll tell you what I think you want to hear so you stop whining and feeling sorry for yourself. I will say I didn’t like the sons angry response but I could relate.


Yes, you can tell me think I’m a terrible bible teacher, but this has been how I’ve felt for years. I didn’t want to read about it or hear a sermon on it because it always ended in me rolling my eyes. I just couldn’t get it to fit my picture of what fairness looked like. I know it’s terrible but I’m keeping it real for you!


Until, oh yes there is an until, last Sunday. You all remember my temper tantrum – yikes. You gave me so much love last week after I confessed my ugly wretched heart out to you and I love each one of you so much for it! Last Sunday while singing the name of Jesus, tears streaming down my face, I heard a voice that sounded like my own, but my voice would not have said this. A voice that said “see this is why the lost son was welcomed back.” You were the lost son filled with doubts, anger and an unwillingness to turn to me. My justice works like grace.

God's justice looks like grace

I finally got it. We are all the lost son, no matter how long we serve him. How we dedicate ourselves to shining His love. We are all dirty. We all roll around in the filth of wanting our own way. When we get up out of the dirt and walk home hanging our heads, he runs to meet us. He covers us with His robe. We feast again at His table. The Lord loves the dirty and lost. It isn’t fairness, it is love. It isn’t justice, it is grace.


featured on #wordswithwinter link up

This weeks featured blogger is Angela with her post Do You Feel Disqualified? I’m pretty sure we all are going to relate to this gem!


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  1. Wow, I found your honesty very moving. I never really considered the parable from the perspective but I think I understand your point of view.

    I’m so glad God helped you through and spoke to your heart. God bless!

  2. Really inspiring. I had not thought of it that way before reading this. Thank you.

  3. Yes, grace! Winter, I’ve been there too when God opened my eyes and I am, oh, so grateful for grace! And the older son. He saw himself as his father’s worker, totally missing he was his heir and got to enjoy his father’s love, protection, and provision while living in his father’s house. Thanks for sharing your journey.

  4. Winter, I loved this post. I have also felt and thought the same way you did about the prodigal son. God’s love, mercy and grace for each of us is amazing. Thank-you for the beautiful reminder written through your words and shared in your photo. “God’s economy is definitely not our economy.”

  5. Amen! I have been there considering the face value inequality toward the “good son” but also been there at the point of recognition and falling on my face realizing the Grace of God in accepting THIS prodigal daughter into His loving arms. One way it also speaks to me is that, unfortunately, there can be that person sitting on the front row pew week after week their whole lives who has, in reality, never seen and recognized their sin nature to the point of salvation. They assume they are “good” and have no need to fall on the mercy and grace of God. So much depth to this powerful parable!

  6. Once again, Winter, you’ve opened your honest heart to us and given us permission to examine our own attitudes and motives.
    Blessings to you this week!

  7. Timothy Keller has done a wonderful study of the Prodigal Son. Now when I read it I see myself in both sons . . . in need of grace. And as a parent I’ve stood at the door watching and waiting ready to receive with a heart full of love. Great post Winter. Thanks for hosting us each week. Blessings!

  8. I admit I have struggled with this, too. Love the truth that “God’s justice looks like grace!” And that He loves all us prodigals.

  9. I think we forget the “good son” is the people-pleaser. Reaching out to the father to always get it right. God doesn’t want us working for our grace or for His approval, it is a gift. I think the “good son” missed the point as well. Sadly, for him, he stayed in the place of thinking he deserved his father’s Grace and Love and missed that he already had it if only he would accept it.

  10. I get it. i know that some feel the same about Mary and Martha – that Martha got a bad rap! Always something new to learn in the Word, that’s for sure! Thanks, winter – glad i found you.

  11. Thank you for featuring my blog “Do You Feel Disqualified?” What a happy surprise! I loved your post today. I’ve found that the more that we experience God’s grace in our lives, the easier it is to give it to others. I appreciate your honesty 😃

  12. Oh yes – I think (read: know) that I have been both the ‘good’ son and the prodigal… but now, the part that takes my breath away, is the prodigal Father… so he was the one who appeared to be ‘wastefully extravagant’ with His Love… and just the thought of Him not only waiting and watching – but oh how He runs to us! Extravagant, indeed!

  13. Winter, I, too, used to have those feelings about that story. It took until not so many years ago for me to actually get it, so I loved this post! (but, girl, there isn’t a post of yours I don’t love!) Now, I am so thankful for His lavish love and welcome, even when I’m a great big mess! And like you, those pity parties are a key battle tactic employed by the enemy. Ugh!

    I’m always blessed by my visits here, Winter 🙂

  14. I say that all the time, “God’s economy is not ours.” I was a bad girl so I appreciate the parable of the prodigal son! God surely has a plan for each one of us, amen? xo Love linking up here!

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