Imagine you’re a college-aged person. You just graduated college, and it was a very expensive one. You just happen to also graduate in an economic crisis for the history books. You have oh, say, roughly 100 grand in debt… without interest accruing. You’ve also been overseas using your grace period. Now you’re back, and you got bills in your mail. You begin to feel the weight of the payments as you keep getting delinquency notices. You have no hope of getting a job. Soon, your government decides to crack down, throwing people in a jail.
Since no one cares about this place, it is a horrible place to be. Horror stories echo in your mind you’ve heard from people. Then someone comes up to you as the police come to your house to pick you up. You’re being led away by your arms, mind racing in fear of what’s next. The burden hangs like an anchor to the bottom of the ocean for your soul – how can you ever be freed from that jail with no way to pay your debts?
Then that someone gets your attention. He says, “I can pay your debts. All you need to do is say yes, and act on your yes.” You ask, “How can this be? Are you this rich?” He answers, “No debt is greater than what I have paid, and so neither is yours. They are in fact, all the same. Money is no object to me.” You reply, “All I have to do is say yes? That seems so easy.”
He calmly replies, “Yes, and act on your yes. Live like you are free. You no longer have the burden of debt anchoring your soul to the depths. You have been given a gift that’s meant to make you rise. Don’t forget this gift has been given, and live every day like it’s the day you’ve received it. It won’t be easy remembering this from day to day as you live in your freedom. Day to day life swallows up the magnificence of such a great debt paid. Maybe not even day to day life, but a family member passing. Yet you are still there to be able to comfort your family as you grieve. You always have to come back to what I’ve done, because essentially I gave you life when you had none. You will remember the reason why you’re not rotting away in a decrepit jail cell is because I came here today and asked you to say – yes.”
This little snippet of an imperfect story came to my mind as I was thinking of my college debt. I’ve grown to resent it, and at times even hate it. The burden of debt with no way to pay it off (barring forbearance/deferrment) is heavy. It brought me back in a small finite way of the greatness of debt that has been paid for my sins. There is absolulely no way I could pay that debt, just like the person in the story above. That person represents all of us, and our choice to accept and remember the debt that has been paid for our lives so that we can live free. The other is an imperfect illustration of Jesus, telling us we aren’t anchored to the depths because of our sins, but rather been invited to the heavens to be with Him by a free gift of freedom. It isn’t easy to live in this freedom, but Christ gives us the strength to do so. We have to constantly remember His sacrifice by living like we remember. We get to know Him, the one who has paid our debts. We invest in Him, because He’s invested so much in us. How can we not respond to such great undeserved love?
For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.
From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
–2 Corinthians 5:14-21