Imagine you called the phone company to pay your bill. Probably not uncommon for most of us. Not only past due for the month, you are several months behind and the phone company is threatening to deactivate your service. Suppose that when you called, the conversation went something like this:
"Yes, I'd like to set up payments on my bill. I can't pay this months in full and I am several months behind, but it says here if I call to make payment arrangements, my service will not be disconnected."
"Yes, ma'am, we can help you with that. Let's see here. Oh, my, ma'am, I'm showing a balance of zero. You don't owe us any money. Your bill has already been paid."
"Well, as great as that sounds, you must be mistaken. I haven't paid a dime on it in months and I know I have a past due balance plus my current bill to pay. You must be looking at some other bill."
"No, no it says it right here. Your bill has been paid! In full!"
"Even my outstanding balance? And what about those extra gadgets I charged to my account knowing I was getting in over my head but figured I'd deal with it when the bill came. And, I added up extra charges that I knew I wasn't going to be able to pay yet thought I absolutely had to have in that moment? Even those?"
"Yes, all your past debts have been paid."
"And, my current bill? It's been paid, as well? Though I racked up overages and went over my budget and spending limit? What about those apps that came with the phone when I purchased it and never used but did purchase apps that cost a few more dollars here and there and even the ones I knew weren't all that good for me? Someone paid that, too? Even though I didn't do anything to change my spending habits or make good choices? Considering I knew then that this was all surely going to cost me something? All those current charges, also?"
"Yes, yes, your current bill, too!"
"This is unbelievable! Now I can catch up and start over and start putting some money in the bank to save up for next months phone bill. Maybe I won't get so far behind this time."
"Um, no need, ma'am. Your bill has been paid forward. All future payments have been taken care of. You owe nothing, now or ever!"
"So, let me get this straight...my past debts have been paid? My current bill has been covered, and my future payments cared for? But, but, I didn't do anything to earn it. I don't deserve this. Who would do such a thing for me? Who can I call and thank for this amazing act of kindness?"
"Well, let's see here. It says that Your Father paid it."
Suppose you went on to say, "Well, I want to pay my bill anyway. I don't care if I don't owe anything. It's my bill and I have a little money to throw at it so I still want to pay my debt. I've been carrying this bill around for months and saving up money and working overtime and stressing myself out about it and I insist on paying what is due!"
"But, ma'am, there's no debt to pay. No payment. You are free."
Friends, this is often how we view our shame, our guilt, our addictions, our sins. We carry them around with us for years, forgetting that Jesus already paid the price for them. We become stressed, depressed, believing the lies that we are unworthy, not good enough and unloved. We carry the burden of that shame on our shoulders, bringing it into every facet of our life - our relationships, our abilities, and God's plans for us. We sabotage the blessings he has in store for us because we are unable to let go of the cost that he paid for us so long ago.
We think that we are not ready, that we haven't made enough changes or used our gifts and abilities to their fullest and that God couldn't possibly want a wreck like us. So, we keep carrying the burden on our own assuming that if we just get our debts in order, then we will be ready for someone to do something good for us.
Doesn't it seem redundant? To try to pay the price for a bill that's already been paid? To worry and stress and make ourselves sick with the debts from our past that we have been trying to make up for and pay ever since? Debts that have not only been covered in full but have been paid for in advance?
Sisters, your guilt has been paid for! Your shame has been set free! Your past, your secrets, your misery and suffering, it's all been covered by the blood of Jesus Christ, your Father. Why continue to carry around these burdens when Jesus has already set you free?
Father, I don't deserve the price you paid for my sins, my shame. I am not worthy of my own accord to be forgiven of my debts. Only because of you, only through you, am I enough to have my dues wiped clean from the slate and paid for in advance. Father, help me to remember when I am staring shame in the face, when guilt creeps back in or temptations to self medicate my pain and my struggles that you have already paid the price for these and I no longer have to bear the burden. Thank you Almighty God for your grace and your undue mercy. Help me to be a good steward of what you have given me and to give you all the glory. Amen.
"Jesus paid it all, All to Him I owe; Sin had left a crimson stain, He washed it white as snow".