Monday, March 2, 2020

The Joy of Paying Your Debt

Our society has a strange relationship with debt. I don't know anyone who likes having debt, and yet it seems most people have credit cards, student loans, or car loans. A few years before we bought our home, I was tired of feeling enslaved to my debts, so we began to pay them off.  It took years of effort. Some decisions were easier, and some were harder.

At first, it seemed impossible.  There were so many debtors, and I longed for one, just one, to be eliminated.  Month after month the checks were written and mailed, and the amounts inched downward painfully slow. Then there was some momentum. We took out a personal loan to consolidate the smaller loans, so then the monthly payment moved us forward foot by foot instead of inch by inch. After some more time, my husband got a new job, and foot by foot became block by block.  Then I got a new job, and it was mile by mile.

In those years, I felt a rush of joy watching the number tick down even slightly. To be honest, I still track our debt. Even though we only have a mortgage, every few months I update a spreadsheet that shows our net worth (it's still negative, but we're plugging along). Despite how good it feels to pay down my own debt, you know what feels better?

Someone who will pay it for me.

There was nothing as exciting as the day we received a settlement and I used it to pay off half our car loan. That was amazing!

Scripture compares sin to debt. When Jesus taught His disciples to pray, He instructed them to ask God to "forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors" (Matthew 6:12, NASB). Christ did, in fact, pay our debt when He died for our sins on the cross.  If He has paid that debt, we are no longer enslaved to sin. There's no dread when I bring in the mail of life because my debt has been paid by Him. I'm thankful that "if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed" (John 8:36, NASB).

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