Drowning in Debt- David Murray

Everyone in Britain owes an average of £13,000, and that sum is rising rapidly. Inquiries to Citizens Advice Bureaux in Scotland have reached record levels, with money problems dominating requests for advice. The "rich" are also in greater debt than ever before, discovering that once you start living beyond your means you carry on doing so. As one high spender said: "The money spent to make money-making bearable ensured that there was no money left to make money-making pay!"

Unreasonable reasoning

How easy it is to reason ourselves into ever deeper debt. As Psychologist, Professor Robert Bor, said: "Itís the same principle as the smoker who is worried about the damage his habit is doing to his health, so has a smoke to calm his nerves! When some people are indebted, they think they may as well be hung for a sheep as a lamb. Unable to get out of debt easily, they conclude that may as well just spend a little bit more and enjoy the extra treat for which theyíve borrowed money to buy."

Double debt

The Bible teaches us how to avoid and recover from financial debt. However, it has much more to say about spiritual debt, which is an even more serious and widespread problem. We are born debtors to God, creatures who owe Him perfect and lifelong obedience. None of us, however, can pay this debt. Instead, we add to it every time we disobey. And so, we end up with two huge debts to God, the debt of obedience, and the debt of punishment because of failed obedience. Most people try to deny the reality of this. This is a dangerous approach, even to monetary debts. Others realise the seriousness of their situation, worry about it, and try to blot out the debt with good works (which is impossible), or by sinning more. This is like the person who wakes up after spending too much, and so goes out to buy something to make themselves feel better.

Forgive us our debts

The Lord encourages us to pray "Forgive us our debts", which means that spiritual debts can be forgiven. How can God do this? Well, imagine a bank manager standing with legal papers in his hands. In one hand is your account showing your enormous debt. In the other hand is the legal punishment you have incurred for defaulting. If the manager just burned the papers and let you off, the bank would suffer loss, its reputation should be spoiled, the shareholders would be angry, and you would not have learnt any lessons. But, if someone came and took the papers out of his hand, paid the debt due, and paid the penalty incurred for defaulting, that would be a full, free and legal discharge which would please everyone concerned. This is what Christ did on the cross of Calvary for sinners. So, "forgive us our debts", means "accept Christís compensation on my behalf". Have you prayed this prayer. This is the easy way out of debt. Remember: "The wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord (Rom.6:23).

David Murray

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