Debt Relief

Finally we move off of daily bread to… “Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.” Umm…oh, oh… can I go back to Twinkies?

Forgiveness… sin this is big stuff. Our devotions dive into the deep end of the pool by tackling the word that causes much fuss amongst us Christians. Is it sins, debts or trespasses? There has been a lot of heat and light generated about which word “ought” to be used here, but I think they all have their place.

First off I would like to say that the statement about forgiveness is a two-way street is dead on. Forgiveness can never happen in a total vacuum. Forgiveness is at the relational core of who we are. God forgives us and we in turn are enabled to forgive as we have been forgiven. More about this later…

But for today what are we being forgiven from? Sins? That is the word we use at St. John when we pray the Lord’s prayer and I am good with that. Trespasses, that is the old school word that I used for most of my 45 years on this planet, and I am good with that word too. Then there is debt_form_tabldebt. Um….  as the cool kids say, I am not down with that word. Ok, that isn’t exactly right… I just wanted to say “I wasn’t down with something…never mind…

Ahem..I understand that “technically” the word used in the versions of the Lord’s Prayer we have in scripture use the Greek word that means in English “debts.” But as so often happens our little English word can’t carry the intended weight of the word. I am not going to go into detail here if you want to know more let me know and it may come back up again as we devote our way through the week… moving on…

I guess my thought is while the devotions go on about “debts” I fear that we too often feel that “debt” is something we can handle on our own. The devotions rightfully point out that our debt to God is so great that we cannot pay it.  My problem comes when he starts talking about what we “owe” God.

Well, in fact, I “odebtwe” God everything. But I cannot pay for any of it. I am the spiritual equivalent of the mortgage crisis!  Yes, I have debt, no I cannot pay it off, it is paid for me in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. For that, I live, love and struggle to live my life, not in paying back, but in fact as one big thank you note to God.

If we think that living the Christian life is paying God back for the forgiveness he has already shown us, don’t we work ourselves into a pickle?  If we could in fact pay any of it back why did Jesus Christ come, why did he have to die, couldn’t he just set up a toll free number and have sin debt councilors set up a plan for re-payment?

I guess I do understand the authors point that whenever we go against God’s will for us we rack up more debt and maybe the harder we try to pay it off the deeper in debt we get. The Good News is that in Christ we are free, the debt has beendebt-free-promo paid, canceled… wiped out! Having thus (I love that word… thus!) been forgiven we give thanks to God even as we try to forgive as we have first been forgiven!

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