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Eternal Perspectives: Time to Pay Our Debts

Whether we pay taxes or weekly bills, it might seem we can never catch up. Thankfully, our debt of sin has been paid in full by our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ. And while walking in obedience with Him each day, we need not fear having to add to the cost because through His death and resurrection, He paid in full, once for all.


Bills and debts

As a kid, I paid a price every time I got my feet wet. Mom's command to "wear your boots" usually fell on my deaf ears and, consequently, I sniffled and coughed my way through many winters and springs. Mom usually attributed my illnesses to my not wearing boots.

Adults usually accumulate debts of a different kind. Overspending or foolish spending might top the list for most of us. The result is always the same: we must repay what we owe.

Jesus tells the story about a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. One man owed him millions and couldn't repay. When the king ordered the man and his family to be sold to repay the debt, the debtor begged on his knees for leniency. With great pity the king canceled the man's debt and let him go. So what did the man do next? He found his own servant, who owed him a pittance, and began to choke him and demand the money. Even though his servant begged him to be patient, the man threw him into prison.

When the king heard this about his servant, the one he'd forgiven, he was angry and had the man jailed and tortured. Jesus ended His parable with these words: "So my heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses.” (Matthew 18:35)

The story causes us to take note of our own actions. Like both servants, we are all guilty of debt, both moral and financial. Like the king, we must be willing to forgive, over and over, regardless of how big the debt is, just as God forgives us.

Returning to the story about wet feet, how many parents would punish their child while he lay on his bed sick with a fever and cough? Most parents would overlook the cause and treat their child with loving concern, just as mine did.

Jesus’ lesson may be difficult for us to accept. Many of us aren't ready (or willing) to act with such compassion as the king in Jesus’ parable. After all, most people who do wrong, who owe debts, deserve to be punished, don't they? Yet we need to remember that we, too, have sinned. It all comes down to loving our neighbor as ourselves, the Biblical second great commandment.

Lord, thank You for reminding us through Jesus’ example how to forgive others as You forgive us when we ask for mercy. Help us to refrain from judging others for their wrongs, their debts, and to be aware of our own. In Jesus' name, amen.

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