how broken relationships are like credit card debt


A while back I received a credit card in the mail that I hadn’t applied for. My handbag had been stolen the month before and I suspect the thief had used my details to apply for it – not thinking to change the address to his/her own. I notified the bank immediately, forwarding the police report as evidence, and was assured the card would be cancelled and all was sorted.

In the months that followed I discarded mail from the bank without even opening it, assuming it was promotional material. Until I got a very official looking letter from a debt recovery agency informing me I had an outstanding debt of more than $8,000!

Eight. Thousand. Dollars.

In the nine months since the card was activated there had been no activity. However, the initial charge of $30 for the annual membership had remained unpaid and accrued fees for late payment and interest compounding to now be a debt of over $8,000!! (The matter was clarified and has thankfully been resolved.)

As someone who has never used credit (other than that little old thing we call a house mortgage!) I’ve not really understood how people can amass such large personal debt … until I saw the impact of a $30 charge left unchecked for a few months. It doesn’t take long to multiply!

The same goes for avoided conflict. The smallest of unchecked offences can compound to significant relational dysfunction when left unresolved. A debt of forgiveness unsought or unpaid, a misunderstanding left un-clarified, a miscommunication not corrected; an opportunity for reconciliation not embraced can see a seemingly insignificant amount of hurt or disappointment fester and grow to become an almost insurmountable rift. A truth withheld can cause more damage when revealed down the track.

The longer it is left unresolved the larger it can become in our hearts and in our memories. It becomes a foothold for bitterness, anger, rejection and wounding to grow. It impacts our capacity to give ourselves wholeheartedly to new relationships and interactions when we are carrying around an old wound or offence.

What about you? Is there a debt of offence you need to cancel? Is there a payment of forgiveness or apology that you need to make before it compounds further? Can you resolve to not let relatively small issues become massive ones by dealing with them sooner? 

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