Payback? Or paying it forward?

“Paying it forward” is not my favorite phrase.  I’m not exactly sure why that is, there is just something about it that feels trite perhaps.  But the idea is good.

I have a friend, that simply hates the idea of accepting help, unless there is some way she can pay people back.  And right now, she can’t.  I think we all have moments like this – I needed ALOT of help from a lot of people when Trinity was in the hospital for a week.  By day two, there was no way I could keep track of how many hours I owed of babysitting, or random favors to even the score.  And, I think my friends and family would have been insulted if I had suggested I would only accept help if I could repay them.

I think that the need to pay it back inhibits our ability to truly understand grace.  It impacts how well we are able to accept what God alone has accomplished on the cross for us.  We want to pay back.  We don’t like feeling indebted to anyone. 

Piper made a great point regarding Romans 1:14 – “I am a debtor both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to wise and to unwise.”  We are not indebted to God, because of the grace shown to us.  We can not pay Him back.  We ought not  try.  But we are in debt to those around us, to share with them the mercy shown to us.  I am indebt to my neighbor who is hostile to the gospel.  I am indebted to the angry mom at my kids’ school, to bless her with the love God has shown me.  I am indebted to my unbelieving family…

Friend – you are not indebted to me.  You do not need to pay me back.  You do not owe me anything – in fact to try and do so robs the giver of the blessing of freely giving.  But pay it forward.  Give to others – time, energy, love – out of the abundance of blessings you feel you have received.

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