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  • Writer's pictureStaci Sweet

The Payoff Terms for Paying-It-Forward

In Matthew 18:23-28, we find a major creditor interacting with a debtor . It reads,

‘…a certain king…wanted to settle accounts with his servants…one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents…but…he was not able to pay [therefore he] commanded that he be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and that payment be made. The servant therefore fell down before him, saying, ‘Master, have patience with me, and I will pay you all’…the master…was moved with compassion, released him, and forgave him the debt. “But that servant went out and found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii; and he laid hands on him and took him by the throat, saying, ‘Pay me what you owe!’

This man was in serious debt. So much so, that all he owned was about to be seized. When the king (finance company) demanded payment in full, the servant ‘fell down’ on his knees and asked for more time. As a man, this type of interaction had to be unsettling. Yet this interaction also gives us a little insight into his character. His first inclination was to not ask to be forgiven for his financial transgressions, but to ask for more time. Therefore, we know from the jump that this man had some accountability issues. #allpunsintended

Overanalyzing Compassion

After leaving his meeting, he began to assess the situation. Instead of being thankful that his ten thousand talent debt had just been supernaturally cancelled, he began to think about why he was in debt in the first place. Instead of being grateful that his FICO score had just drastically increased, he thought about those who hadn’t paid him. It was THEIR fault that he was even in that situation. Therefore, instead of being excited about his newfound debt freedom, he focused on those who were indebted to him. But why?

Because in his mind, he too was a compassionate person. Like the king, he’d allowed his debtors to fall behind on their payments. Instead of holding himself accountable for his account receivables, he placed the blame on those who owed him. In his mind, it was not his fault. That compassion stuff just didn’t work. So he took his compassion back and began to pursue his debtors. The thing about it, is that the minute he did, so did the finance company. You see a part of the terms of compassion is that once it’s extended, it requires you to pay-it-forward. Therefore, when he reneged on the payoff terms, he went back into debt. So, how could he have handled this better?

Thankful for Compassion

By simply being thankful. Instead of thinking about what got him into debt, he could have been grateful that he was out. Instead of thinking about his debtors, he could have thought about the king. But yet this is what many do. Instead of being appreciative that mercy was extended, they find fault. Instead of being grateful that they’re no longer in that position, they become bougie. Instead of being thankful that they are now in a position to help someone else, they pass judgement. A word to the wise: don’t. Like those who need mercy, remember that there was a time when you needed some too. The same compassion you receive, extend. Otherwise, there may come a time when what was extended will be taken away.

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