PAID IN FULL
Prayer: Dear Lord, Thank You for paying my debt. May I show mercy to someone today.
Scripture: For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16 NIV
Chandler sat baffled in the office of an administrator at his school. I had spoken with the administrator on the phone but drove up to the school because I was so confused over the situation and why Chandler had been pulled into his office. The administrator told the story to me again, it still did not make any sense to us. The administrator explained that Chandler had not done anything wrong intentionally; he had no malice in his actions, but was the victim of an accident but “someone had to pay.” The administrator said that “he never looked at the intentions of the students but only the outcome of the action.”
In this case, Chandler had leaned against a water fountain handle while talking with a friend. Unfortunately the sink contained another kids homework that had been placed there as a prank. Chandler jumped away when the water turned on, thought the papers were trash and kept talking with his friend. When Chandler went back to the sink to clean up the papers, they were gone. He figured someone else cleaned up the mess but it had been found by the student they belonged to and now he had wet homework to turn in at his next class. Chandler explained what had happened and the student understood it was an accident but when he tried to turn in wet papers in his next class that became “the outcome that someone had to pay for.”
“It was an accident and I apologized,” Chandler explained. “I know,” said the administrator “and the other student is not upset with you nor does he want you to be punished, but someone has to pay.” I asked the administrator what he knew about Chandler. What did he know about his grades? His character? His reputation with his teachers? His community involvement? Sadly, he did not know Chandler much at all. But even after talking with him about some of those things, his opinion remained the same, someone had to pay.
I explained to him that I am thankful every day that I serve a God who does look at my intentions, and when I make a mess of things by accident, but with a loving heart and good intentions, He forgives me. I need that forgiveness far more often than I would like to count, but I am grateful every time for that forgiveness, for the weighing of my intentions, and for the understanding that accidents and even mistakes happen.
It fell on deaf ears and he made Chandler pay by humiliating him by keeping him out of class to sweep the hallways. Chandler was crushed. Later that night we talked over the situation and about being careful, but Chandler was still dumbfounded at the reality of having been found “not guilty of any wrongdoing” yet sentenced to pay anyway. Then we talked about how this was just the opposite of how God works. We discussed how someone has already paid for all of our sin, for the sin of the whole world – past, present, and future. Chandler said he could imagine now all the times he had prayed to God and said he was sorry for a sin and how God was saying, “You are forgiven, my Son has paid.” It was a big moment for Chandler to think about the punishment that a completely innocent Christ took for the sin of the whole world. How Christ was humiliated, and suffered on the cross so we could hear, “Your debt is paid.” Chandler’s afternoon of humiliation and heartache now seemed nothing to him after thinking about Jesus. Someone had to pay and Jesus said, “I will.”
Have you ever had to “pay” for a wrong you did not commit? Have you ever made a mistake? Have you ever had something happen that accidentally affected someone else? How did you “pay?” In your classroom or school do you weigh the intentions or just the outcome? Do you beat yourself up when you make a mistake or allow a little room to be human? Are you mindful of the One who had to pay that you might live? Take some time today to thank Him.
My prayer for you is that you would know that your sin debt is paid in full.
Copyright Kathy Branzell. Email firstname.lastname@example.org