Skip to main content

Debtor's Prison

Life is an adventure in forgiveness. 
(Norman Cousins)

I came across this little quote the other day and it made me think about all the ways forgiveness is both needed and given. If you are like me, your first thoughts gravitate toward 'who' we need to forgive and 'what' the offense was that required the forgiveness in the first place. We usually think about others when we begin to think upon forgiveness - someone that has done or said something that has hurt us, bringing harm to us either intentionally or completely without any ill will at all. I wonder...just how many times do we think of the 'who' in this business of forgiveness as ourselves? You know what...you and I need to forgive ourselves, too. We hold ourselves in a position of 'debtors' way too often - unwilling to forgive our own trespasses! All that does is keep us on the hamster wheel of trying to find a way to get out of 'debtor's prison'!

Who can see his own mistakes? Forgive my sins that I do not see. And keep Your servant from sinning by going my own way. Do not let these sins rule over me. Then I will be without blame. And I will not be found guilty of big sins. Let the words of my mouth and the thoughts of my heart be pleasing in Your eyes, O Lord, my Rock and the One Who saves me. (Psalm 19:12-14)

Our own mistakes can sometimes be hard for us to see, but trust me on this one - God will expose them to us if we cannot see them ourselves! When he does, the first thing we should do is call upon him for mercy and in so doing, find not only forgiveness from him, but embrace forgiveness in ourselves. Instead, we might settle into that cursory prayer of 'God, forgive me', but then walk around with a load of guilt upon our shoulders that eventually finds its way into our hearts and minds. That load of guilt isn't supposed to be there. All guilt is supposed to exist for in our lives is to help us head back to the foot of the cross for the absolute and complete forgiveness we will receive there!

Forgiving ourselves is much harder than forgiving someone else, isn't it? I think we can release others from debtor's prison much quicker than we will allow ourselves to be freed - even when the door has been left wide open for us! Christ paid the debt already - our guilt isn't going to 'repay' the debt because it has already been paid. Our minds have a way of repeatedly accusing us of our failures and faults. Amazingly, we find ourselves rehearsing the 'debt' over and over again - almost as though we could somehow find a way to repay it. News Flash: YOU cannot repay your debt for sin - only CHRIST did that!

So, how do we forgive ourselves? It begins by asking God to forgive us for being so presumptuous so as to think we could not be forgiven for our sins. You read that correctly - we are being very presumptuous to think our sin is something that shouldn't or couldn't be forgiven - something we have to hold onto and somehow find a way to 'repay'. We assume a debt we cannot repay, but it has already been fully paid - what is more ridiculous than that? God doesn't want us bound up in our sin's guilt - so he made a way for us to be free of that guilt, but we have to let it go if we are to be free of it. We have to leave that 'cell' in the debtor's prison through the open door he has provided. Just sayin!

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

What did obedience cost Mary and Joseph?

As we have looked at the birth of Christ, we have considered the fact he was born of a virgin, with an earthly father so willing to honor God with his life that he married a woman who was already pregnant.  In that day and time, a very taboo thing.  We also saw how the mother of Christ was chosen by God and given the dramatic news that she would carry the Son of God.  Imagine her awe, but also see her tremendous amount of fear as she would have received this announcement, knowing all she knew about the time in which she lived about how a woman out of wedlock showing up pregnant would be treated.  We also explored the lowly birth of Jesus in a stable of sorts, surrounded by animals, visited by shepherds, and then honored by magi from afar.  The announcement of his birth was by angels - start to finish.  Mary heard from an angel (a messenger from God), while Joseph was set at ease by a messenger from God on another occasion - assuring him the thing he was about to do in marrying Mary wa

A brilliant display indeed

Love from the center of who you are ; don’t fake it. Run for dear life from evil; hold on for dear life to good. Be good friends who love deeply ; practice playing second fiddle. Don’t burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant. Don’t quit in hard times; pray all the harder. (Romans 12:9-12) Integrity and Intensity don't seem to fit together all that well, but they are uniquely interwoven traits which actually complement each other. "Love from the center of who you are; don't fake it." God asks for us to have some intensity (fervor) in how we love (from the center of who we are), but he also expects us to have integrity in our love as he asks us to be real in our love (don't fake it). They are indeed integral to each other. At first, we may only think of integrity as honesty - some adherence to a moral code within. I believe there is a little more to integrity than meets the eye. In the most literal sense,

The bobby pin in the electrical socket does what???

Avoidance is the act of staying away from something - usually because it brings some kind of negative effect into your life.  For example, if you are a diabetic, you avoid the intake of high quantities of simple sugars because they bring the negative effect of elevating your blood glucose to unhealthy levels.  If you were like me as a kid, listening to mom and dad tell you the electrical outlets were actually dangerous didn't matter all that much until you put the bobby pin into the tiny slots and felt that jolt of electric current course through your body! At that point, you recognized electricity as having a "dangerous" side to it - it produces negative effects when embraced in a wrong manner.  Both of these are good things, when used correctly.  Sugar has a benefit of producing energy within our cells, but an over-abundance of it will have a bad effect.  Electricity lights our path and keeps us warm on cold nights, but not contained as it should be and it can produce