Three Words That Change Everything


Years ago, my wife and I became a SITCOM family. Single Income Three Children Oppressive Mortgage. We liked to tell people it was our house, but we knew: it belonged to the bank. We had bought this year’s house with the next twenty-five year’s money. To make things worse, our kids were teenagers. They consumed more food than the entire population of Guam.

Getting into debt helps us realize a few things.

The reason we are in debt is that we are trying to catch up to people who are already there.

If we think no one cares about you, just try missing a couple of payments.

Mike Yaconelli was a youth worker who struck up a friendship with a young man who was in and out of the juvenile hall. His dad was an alcoholic who emotionally and physically abused the entire family. When the father went to detox, Mike and his wife did all they could to help the young man. And then they moved away.

One day they decided to redo their kitchen and discovered that within a three-hour radius of their house the only one free to do the job was the abusive dad.

“Not a chance,” said Mike. “He knocks his family around. I don’t trust him.” Finally, he agreed to hire him but watched him like a hawk. When the man finished the job, Mike told him to come by his office for a check.

“Oh,” the man said, “I need to talk to you about the money.”

Mike knew he was about to be cheated. At 5 P.M. he was ready for him.

The man walked into his office and began writing out a bill. Then he paused and said, “A couple of years ago I was drinking too much. I mistreated my wife and children, especially my oldest son. But you and your wife spent a lot of time with him. I went to AA, and I’ve been sober ever since. Because of you and your wife, I still have a relationship with my son. I’ve never been able to thank you, but I’m thanking you now.”

He handed Mike a bill. Across it was written, “Paid in full.”

That’s my story. Because of my sin, I owe a debt I cannot pay. But Colossians 2 says, “God made us alive together with [Jesus], having forgiven us all our trespasses, by cancelling the record of debt that stood against us.”

Each time I make another mortgage payment I think of those three awesome words, “Paid in full.”

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