Love is the one Debt That Will Never be Paid off Completely

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Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor. Love Your Neighbor Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law. Romans 137-8 NKJV

When we think of debt I know I usually think about money, however I have come to realize there are things we owe besides money. It is staggering to think that over half of Americans have less than a thousand dollars in the bank. But it is also staggering to realize that over half the American population feels lonely and unloved. When it comes to money the poor feel like they are being oppressed by the rich. Instead of being oppressed by the rich the poor want the rich to pay higher taxes and share more. After all, don’t the rich already have enough? Why can’t they give more?

Should we ask the same questions when it comes to love? Shouldn’t those who feel loved share more of their love and time with the lonely? Years ago, in the first district I worked in as a Bible worker, a man I was studying with brought his 14 year old step-daughter to church for the first time. I went to the women in the church who had teenage daughters and asked them to encourage their daughters to befriend our teenage visitor. Do you know what  one of the mother’s told me? She shrugged her shoulders and said, “our daughters already have friends.” Thirty some odd years later I have never been able to forget that. They left a 14 year old girl, starving, not for food or money but for love! I actually met the stepfather years late at another Adventist church, where he got baptized. I never saw or heard from the stepdaughter again. She never came back to the church that snubbed her, and the sad thing is the church does not care that she never returned. Their own emotional needs were being met and that is simply all that mattered to them. 

Isaiah 58:1-14 talks about a people who love to go to church and debate theology with their best friends but forget to care for those who are left out. Isaiah goes on to say that they are breaking the Sabbath by debating theology in Sabbath School class with their best friends. Yes, they are in Sabbath School talking theology on the Sabbath but they are still breaking the Sabbath by doing their own pleasures. In this case their own pleasure is not going to a football game or shopping mall on the Sabbath-its going to church! They are breaking the Sabbath because they are not reaching out to those who are unloved. 

The poor don’t like it when the rich are stingy with their money, but can the poor be just as stingy with their time, love, forgiveness and mercy?  While the poor feel oppressed financially do we oppress even the rich by not giving them mercy and forgiveness? God has been so rich and generous with us by showering us with grace and mercy. Do we share this grace and mercy with others or do we hold grudges and oppress them emotionally by not being gracious and forgiving toward them?  

There is such a thing as debtors prison, but there are other prisons as well. We put people in prison when we hold a grudge and when we refuse to let them into our circle. We oppress people when we withhold our love and friendship. 

Money debts are more tangible and so maybe that’s why they stick out in our mind more than other debts. But are there other debts we need to pay back that may not be monetary? Do you owe someone a thank you? A compliment? A hug? A pardon? How about your time? Is there someone who just needs you to lend them your ear for a while? You may have paid off all your bill collector’s but are you really debt free? Is there someone you still owe love to? Can you begin paying them back today? And tomorrow and the day after that and the day after that…….

You may study this week’s Sabbath School lesson here.

5: Dealing With Debt-Sabbath School Lesson Teaching Plan

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Prepared by William Earnhardt, for Sabbath School class February 4, 2023.

Main Theme: God can help us out of debt so we can be good stewards.

Read in Class: Deuteronomy 28:1-2, 12. Define the main idea of this passage.

Study: What is God’s ideal for His children regarding debt? How can they attain this ideal? And though this context is very different from ours, what principles can we take away from this context and apply to our own now?

Apply: Read Matthew 6:24 and 1 Timothy 6:6-9. What is said here that all of us need to heed? What do these words mean to you, and in what ways can you better follow what the Word is teaching us here?

Share: Your friend says she is overwhelmed with debt. She knows she has made mistakes and corrected them, but the debt is too great and she does not believe she will ever be debt free again. How do you respond to your friend? How could 2 Kings 6:1-6 help?

Read in Class: Proverbs 22:7. Define the main idea of this passage.

Study:  In what sense are we under bondage to the lender?

Apply: “Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’ ” (Heb. 13:5, NKJV). How could applying these words greatly help people avoid getting into debt?

Share: Your friend says that it is impossible to avoid debt. Who can pay cash for a car or brand new home? How do you respond to your friend?

Read in Class: Proverbs 6:1-5, Proverbs 17:18 and Proverbs 22:26. Define the common thread of these passages.

Study: What is the message here?

Apply: Read Proverbs 28:20 and 1 Timothy 6:9-10. How can you avoid being greedy for riches? How are you learning to be content like Paul mentions in 1 Timothy 6:6?

Share: Your friend asks you to cosign for him so he can finally buy a home, as his entire family has been living in a small apartment. How do you respond to your friend?

Read in Class: Deuteronomy 15:1-5. Define the main idea of this passage.

Study: What did the Lord require of His people as revealed in these verses?

Apply: If you have lent people money, how honest and fair and kind are you in your dealings with them? How would you fare before God when you have to answer for those dealings? (See Eccles. 12:14)

Share: This week can you think of a student who may be behind on his or her tuition or even lunch bill? How can you help them out this week?