When I was in my early 30’s, married and with two young children, I struggled to pay off each month my bills. That was especially the case with medical bills. One was so large that I had to make small monthly payments. Dorothy and I had built a home. We borrowed the maximum amount we could qualify for to obtain a construction loan and later the mortgage. The mortgage had an interest rate of 9 ¼% per year. Having the big monthly mortgage payment along with property taxes and homeowners’ insurance premiums drained our finances.
The stress of overpaying debts takes its toll on those who carry that burden. The inability to pay one’s bills on time is downright embarrassing.
As I fretted over my embarrassment that the large healthcare bill could not be paid promptly, I received a note from the provider. That note, recreated above, read, “Dear Jack and Dorothy, I know that you are having trouble paying my bill. I know what it feels like to have a debt forgiven when times are tough. I am writing off your debt to me. You owe nothing on it anymore. I hope this helps you. I feel good about this and wish you both well.”
As I read the note my eyes became wet with relief, with joy, and in thanksgiving for the unrequested forgiveness of my debt. Forgiveness blesses both the one who forgives and the one forgiven. I have never forgotten that gesture of forgiveness.
I am certain that many of you have received the forgiveness of a debt. If you have asked for it and received it, you no doubt have never forgotten the feeling of it. If you received forgiveness without even requesting it, the feeling of relief and peace within you is magnified tenfold.
In my divorce practice on several occasions, I have paid it forward by following my healthcare provider’s example. I wrote a note to one client who had hired me in a divorce in which custody was a serious issue. One of her children was severely disabled. During the divorce, she lost her job. In dealing with her husband’s antics and improper actions towards the children, more than $80,000 in attorney’s fee bills were incurred. Payment was past due. My note to her said nothing was owed on the outstanding bills. In a collaborative divorce, my client had incurred far more in legal fees than she could afford to pay. Those fees of over $20,000 were written off. Neither client had asked for forgiveness. Yet, it was given.
God made possible the forgiveness of our sins. We did not ask God to sacrifice His Son so that we would receive forgiveness. Because of God, every one of us receives forgiveness when we ask God to forgive us. If God grants us forgiveness, don’t we, as His children, need to grant forgiveness to one another?
Today’s prayer is a prayer for forgiveness of debts and the debt of forgiveness. Forgiving a debt may be difficult. Forgiving a wrong, an injury or breach of trust, may seem insurmountable. Out of the question.
To the glory of God, when someone asks you to forgive a wrong they have done to you, should you not act as God has done? Even if the wrong doer may have too much pride to ask you to forgive him or her, would God be pleased if you forgave them anyway? We each owe that to God, don’t we? That is a debt we owe God by treating our brothers and sisters in His way.
God has spoken in Scripture as to forgiveness.
Bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.
Let us pray:
Dear God, my heart is struggling to forgive others who need my forgiveness. Please help me in prayer to follow Your gracious example of granting forgiveness to me.
God, please help me to let go of my bitterness and resentment toward those whom I should forgive in the path of Your grace and glory.
God, please grant me the wisdom to forgive the debts and wrongs of others as You have forgiven me.
God, Your forgiveness is the gift of Your grace for which I am eternally thankful. Amen
If you think Jack’s prayer helps you or will help someone you know, please forward it to them. Jack may never make millions selling books or writing prayers, but spreading God’s good news to others is reward enough for him.
Ann Boland, Jack’s Publicist