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Posts tagged ‘debt’

You Don’t Ask, I Don’t Forgive. Right? Wrong!!

SOURCE:  Taken from  The Peacemaker: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal Conflict by Ken Sande, Updated Edition (Grand Rapids, Baker Books, 2003) p. 217

If you are struggling with unforgiveness, take another look at the enormous debt for which God has forgiven you. Turning to the Bible and reminding yourself of God’s holiness will help you see more clearly the seriousness of even your smallest sin (see Isa. 6:1-5; James 2:10-11). Make a list of some of the sins for which God has forgiven you. In particular, ask yourself whether you have ever treated God or others the same way you have been treated by the person you are trying to forgive. Take a long look at this list and remind yourself what you deserve from God because of your sins. Then rejoice in the wonderful promise of Psalm 103:8-11: “The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love….  He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him.”

The more you understand and appreciate the wonders of God’s forgiveness, the more motivation you will have to forgive others.

Food for Thought

I remember having spent years refusing to forgive an individual who had wronged me. I had rationalized my refusal by telling myself that since he hadn’t asked, I wasn’t obligated to have an attitude of forgiveness. I had decided to wait for this person to ask me for forgiveness, and had planned how much he would have to suffer in my process of forgiveness. I doubt I’m alone in thinking this way. But then I was convicted. I was reminded that Jesus went to the cross to forgive my sins long before I ever acknowledged those sins and sought forgiveness. Who was I to withhold forgiveness, as much as it depends on me, in light of this realization?

I began to make a list of some of the sins for which God had forgiven me. I didn’t have to think back more than a few days to have a sizeable list. Looking at my list, I recognized immediately the enormous debt God had paid on my behalf, and that I was in no position to refuse that same forgiveness to anybody else.

Are you withholding forgiveness from somebody today?  Take a few minutes and write down some of the sins for which you’ve been forgiven. Then write down the sins this other person has perpetuated against you. How do the lists compare? Do you recognize the enormity of the mercy you have been shown? It is only when we first meditate on how much we have been forgiven that we can even begin to follow the exhortation to “forgive as the Lord forgave you” (Col. 3:13b).

What Will I Do With The “DEBT” Others Owe Me?

SOURCE:  Taken from The Peacemaker: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal Conflict by Ken Sande, Updated Edition (Grand Rapids, Baker Books, 2003) p. 207

“Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.” Matt. 6:12

Forgiveness can be a costly activity. When someone sins, they create a debt, and someone must pay it. Most of this debt is owed to God. In his great mercy, he sent his Son to pay the debt on the cross for all who would trust in him (Isa. 53:4-6; I Peter 2:24-25, Col. 1:19-20).

But if someone sinned against you, part of their debt is also owed to you. This means you have a choice to make. You can either take payments on the debt or make payments.

Food for Thought

What thoughts or feelings does the word debt stir in you?

There’s a phrase of the Lord’s Prayer that you may not hear much anymore: “Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.”  You usually hear “forgive us our sins” or “forgive us our trespasses“; both are correct in translation and meaning.  But many have gotten away from this word debt.  Ever wonder why?

The words we choose to use say much about us.  Words are vehicles for meaning.  Ponder this for a moment.  Maybe, just maybe, using the word sin or trespass helps up to keep this phrase at arm’s length.  Trespass is so old fashioned, we can say it and just keep on moving.  It’s not a word we use everyday, so we just recite it, robot-like, and go to the next phrase.  Sin is this big category that contains so many thoughts and feelings that it’s almost overwhelming, so much so that we say it and then stick our heads in the ground, hoping it will go away.  And keeping this phrase at arm’s length unfortunately keeps our hearts at arm’s length from God and others.

But debt — now that means something. We’re free of debt, we’re trying to get out ofdebt, or maybe we’re deep in debt.  Using that word forces us to remember that forgiveness is a costly activity.  Now that has specificity to it — someone or something has to pay.  As a human being, you and I can decide to either take payments or make payments on the debt that comes from someone sinning against us.  If we’re interested in being a peacemaker, well, then the choice is made — make the payment in light of the payment He made for your debt, pray the prayer, and live the life as He taught us — as we forgive our debtors.

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