Alynda Long joins Word Nerd Wednesday with the next word in our series on The Lord’s Prayer, debtors.
Being Debtors is a Big Deal
“And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.”
For years, as I read this line of scripture, I glossed over it. Sure, sure, God forgives us, so we should forgive others. Okay, no big deal. Done.
But it is a big deal.
Being a debtor means we owe something to someone. We’ve taken something from someone requiring repayment. In our modern society, the first thing that comes to mind regarding debts and debtors is the owing of money. When we buy a home, we become debtors. When we purchase something with a credit card, we are indebted to our banks or credit card companies. In short, we owe a payment to another and they will collect one way or another. With interest. We rarely have the opportunity simply to repay that which we borrowed, but must pay a fee for the pleasure of borrowing the money in the first place.
Our current word, debtors (det-er) originated from the Middle English word detto(u)r which came from the Anglo-French word dett(o)ur or de(b)tour and goes back to the Greek words, daneion and opheile.
According to Webster’s dictionary, the definition of debtor is:
- one guilty of neglect or violation of duty
- one who owes a debt
Which Debtors Do We Forgive?
Not until I tackled the challenging task of working through my childhood sexual abuse did I fully understand Christ’s meaning in the Lord’s Prayer. I cannot hold onto wrongs done to me. I must forgive those debts and entrust them to God. By transferring the debt from myself to God, I have forgiven the perpetrator of his wrongdoing to me.
Now, I don’t know about you, but I find it easy to forgive minor infractions against me. Cut me off in traffic? Forgiven. Speak harshly to me then ask for forgiveness? Forgiven. But the bigger issues are harder to forgive.
My flesh wanted to hold onto the hurt done to me. I wrapped myself in the blanket of shame, guilt, anger, and resentment and dreamt of retribution for those who imposed themselves on me and stole my innocence away. How dare they harm me in such a way? They needed to pay for what they did to me! They needed prison time or, in my darker moments, death.
Yet, we are called to do it by Christ himself. God forgives US and WE forgive others. All of it. Not just the little parts. Paraphrasing another person’s phrase, holding onto debts and expecting the debtors to repay us is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.
Forgiving Debtors Frees Us
I’m finding freedom in forgiveness. Forgiving my debtors releases not only them but me too. I am no longer bound by that harm they’ve done. I have released it to the Lord and He now holds it in His hands. I know they are in the hands of the Lord. They will either receive His grace or His wrath. I’ve gotten to a place where I pray for the former versus the latter.
Freeing ourselves from the burden of holding others in debt allows us to focus on all the ways the Lord forgives us each and every day.
How may you release a debtor in your life?Freeing ourselves from the burden of holding others in debt allows us to focus on all the ways the Lord forgives us each and every day. @alyndalong #wordnerdwednesday #debtor #thelordsprayer Click To Tweet
Alynda Long is a writer, blogger, editor, and redeemed survivor of sexual abuse. A lay leader in a recovery ministry, she loves helping other women walk through their own journey of recovery through Christ. She writes at her website, alyndalong.com. She’s the founder and editor of Faith Beyond Fear, a site dedicated to sharing believers’ experiences of reaching beyond fear into their faith in Christ. She also contributes to A Wife Like Me, a website dedicated to helping women love their spouses as Christ loves the church. Her testimony will be published in Stories of Roaring Faith: Volume 3 in October 2018. She thrives on Jesus, coffee, books, chocolate, and friendships! You may reach out to her via her social media and email accounts below: