Each debt we owe is like a tiny string that ties us to earth much like Lemuel Gulliver on the beach. Though the debts keep us bound, Jesus is calling us to be debt-free.
Debt comes in many forms. Financially, the world today thrives on debt. Pushing people to ever extravagant purchases beyond their ability to pay. Each day we rack up unpayable financial debts to feed ‘self’. Emotionally, we gather debts like a mother hen gathers her chicks. Each ‘self’ filled word or action that hurts another creates emotional debt. Spiritually we hold debt too. The actions of ‘self’ bringing us earthly and eternal consequences we have no means to pay.
The curse of debt binds us so much that we cannot escape, yet Jesus calls us to be debt free.
How can we be free from the debts that plague us? Yes, we can accept the sacrifice of Jesus for the eternal consequences of our ‘self’ filled actions but what about those financial and emotional debts that seem to grow and demand interest over time? What is the secret of being debt free?
In 2003, Wanda and I owned a business, a home and a mountain load of debt, both financially and emotionally. When God called us to be debt free, we were not sure how to achieve this. Only the tip of the iceberg was visible. How far God would lead us to bring us to freedom was beyond our understanding. For the moment, our debt mountain was too big for us to climb alone.
Instead of focusing on the mountain, God wanted us focusing on the moment.
Jesus began with a word from a prophet telling us to get out of financial debt. Our first steps were small, simple, and practical. First, we took our financial debts, focused on the smallest one and paid as much as possible against the principal. At the same time, we maintained the minimum payments on the larger ones and did not add to our debt. As each debt was liquidated we applied our accrued funds to the next largest debt. This is called the Debt Snowball Plan. Over time we whittled our financial debts down to a manageable size.
The emotional debts were far more troublesome to address since they lacked the precision and clarity of numbers; we cannot quantify pain. Childhood trauma and addiction were obstacles we could not overcome alone. Jesus led us to counseling at Elijah House. The counselor’s help moved us a great deal forward in our journey in learning how to forgive ourselves and others. Like all debts however, our emotional wounds took time and many payments of forgiveness until they were whittled down to size.
Forgiving others takes as much courage, decisiveness and practicality as paying off financial debts.
We will never say the journey of becoming debt free is easy. The process will take as long as debt exists. We will have to forego catering to our ‘self’ and embrace a sacrificial life. In our world to gain is the highest ideal and sacrifice is a dirty word. What a contrast from the words of our Beloved. “For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his life [in the eternal kingdom of God]?” Mark 8:36.
When we learn to let go of everything ‘self’ wants, pay off the debts ‘self’ has accrued and begin investing in spirit we will become debt free. Financially, emotionally and spiritually, if we surrender our ‘self’ to Jesus He will lead us on the path of faith to freedom. Are you ready to take the steps to become free from the bondage to your debts?
Homer and Wanda