A man had two sons. The younger son demanded his inheritance from his father, left home, squandered it, and returned home, admitting to his father that he had sinned and begging for forgiveness.
The father responded, “I cannot simply forgive you for what you have done. You have insulted my honor by your wild living. Simply to forgive would be to trivialize your sin. Justice, forgiveness, and reconciliation cannot occur unless the penalty for your sin is paid. Either you must be punished or you must pay back the honor you stole from me.
The older brother spoke up, telling his father he would pay the debt of his younger brother. The brother worked day and night to pay the debt until he died of exhaustion. The father’s wrath was finally placated against the younger brother, and they lived happily until the end of their days.