October 05, 2018

Debts Forgiven

Deuteronomy 15:1-11

Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.

—  Matthew 6:12

In this day of credit cards, it’s easy to get deep into debt, and the interest rate can make our debt snowball. If we get into that kind of trouble, we may need to visit a credit counselor to help us plan a way out.

In the Law of Moses, God commanded the Israelites to cancel debts at the end of every seven years. The cancellation of debts was a merciful feature of the Law of Moses, and it called for an openhanded, generous attitude toward the poor. Stinginess and lack of concern was inconsistent with the heart of the Law, which, as Jesus said, was based on loving God and caring about your neighbor as much as you care about yourself (see Matthew 22:37-40).

Canceling debts on a society-wide level was to be echoed by a forgiving attitude. The apostle Paul expresses this beautifully when he says in Ephesians 4:32: “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”

Have you ever thought of sin as like getting into debt? If you’re a slave to some particular sin, it’s like digging yourself into a hole, deeper and deeper, making it harder and harder to climb out. Don’t indulge yourself, but cry out to God for the forgiveness of your debts, and seek his strength to live an obedient life.

Lord, thank you for your tenderheartedness to us sinners. Forgive us and teach us to be like Jesus, loving and forgiving toward others. In his name, Amen.

About the author — George Young

George Young, a native New Yorker, worked as a taxi driver in New York City before studying to become a pastor. Then he, his wife Ruth, and their children were missionaries for many years in northeastern Japan. They worked with ministers and believers from the Reformed Church in Japan to spread the good news of salvation in Christ and ­establish new churches. Now George and Ruth are retired and live in the northeastern United States, nearer to their children and grandchildren.

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