You borrowed money that you never paid back.
You didn’t show up. You didn’t thank me. You didn’t keep your promise. You didn’t return the favor. You didn’t include me. You didn’t apologize.
You hurt me.
You rejected me. You talked about me behind my back. You forgot me. You judged me. You didn’t ask about me. You didn’t encourage me. You believed the worst about me. You didn’t love me.
I can’t stop thinking about it.
I’m furious. I’m depressed. I’m exhausted. I’m sick.
Every time the phone rings, an email comes in, or there’s a knock at the door, I think maybe you’re going to give me what you owe me. But you don’t.
23 “Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. 24 As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand bags of gold[h] was brought to him. 25 Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt.
26 “At this the servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’27 The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.
28 “But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred silver coins.[i] He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded.
29 “His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it back.’
30 “But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. 31 When the other servants saw what had happened, they were outraged and went and told their master everything that had happened.
32 “Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. 33 Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ 34 In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.
35 “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.” (Matthew 18)
I have borrowed without paying back.
I haven’t shown up. I haven’t shown gratitude. I haven’t kept my promise. I haven’t returned the favor. I didn’t include you. I didn’t apologize.
I hurt you.
I rejected you. I talked about you behind your back. I forgot you. I judged you. I didn’t ask about you. I didn’t encourage you. I believed the worst about you. I didn’t love you.
I can’t stop thinking about it.
I’m so sorry. I hurt for how I made you feel. I want to repay you.
In So You're Not Wonder Woman, I describe my financial free fall while I was in graduate school. I was living on $600 a month, so putting $400 in car repairs on my credit card was trouble. I didn't live extravagantly, but I did have cable and insisted on having my own apartment–something I now see led to my accumulating debt. Sharing an apartment with one of my single girlfriends could have shaved at least 40% off my expenses. In addition to the usual expenses, I also had a car payment–not a huge one, but it was a hardship at that income.
I eventually had two credit cards that were maxed out and a medical bill that I was being harassed about paying (I wish now I hadn't had physical therapy for a bad ankle sprain). Foolishly, I used my tax return to take a trip to San Diego. I began working more hours and my income increased to $900 a month. That should have helped, but I moved to a more expensive apartment and bought new furniture to boot. I was at the point of using one credit card to pay off another. I regularly received overdraft notices. I took out bigger student loans. It was just too depressing to admit the truth of my situation: I was in debt. Another poor money manager friend told me at the time that I shouldn't go for credit counseling because they would put me on a budget. Perish the thought.
By today's standards, my debt was a pittance. But the cycle of indebtedness had begun and would have continued once I secured my first job. My student loan debt was over $30,000 in 1991. Again, small by today's standards, but huge to a young woman who didn't know a thing about managing money.
I have a friend who writes a secular blog on managing money and has been a guest blogger on Get Rich Slowly. I have mentioned to her that I could never tell my story of getting out of debt, because it isn't like hers. I didn't wise up, get educated, and get frugal. I didn't pay off my debt; someone else did. I have joked to her that I couldn't very well post about how I got out of debt: I got married.
I remember my fiance's big sigh when I revealed the whole of my debt. It was embarrassing to admit to a man who owned a home, bought two vehicles with cash, and had a sizable savings account. He immediately paid off all my debt. He never lectured me about money. He didn't enroll me in a finance course or give me a book to read. He just managed money well and I watched and learned.
I read this post requesting get-out-of-debt stories and I finally felt moved to share mine. I realized that while my story won't get raves from finance fans, it should from faithful followers of Christ. Though I had much to be ashamed of, my Redeemer paid off my debt. I didn't. Now I spend my life learning from Him.
Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he forgave the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?”
Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt forgiven.”
“You have judged correctly,” Jesus said.
Do you have a get out of debt story, financial or spiritual?