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? 

AS FAR AS IT DEPENDS ON YOU – #4 Grow in Forgiveness

Have you ever had someone hold a grudge against you? A family member or a friend? You said or did something wrong … maybe recently but maybe ages ago … and they just won’t move on or let it go – they seem determined to hold it against you.

It hurts, doesn’t it?

And even if it’s got to the point where it doesn’t hurt anymore, it’s probably at the expense of the relationship – because relationships can’t function where unforgiveness and bitterness and resentment are active. Continue reading

Making Links

One Easter my brother was having a chat with his young son around Communion. They talked about the bread and the juice and he was most pleased to hear my nephew able to recount that they represented Jesus’ body and His blood.

“And what are they to remind us of?” he asked.

“That Jesus died.”

“That’s right! (*insert proud parent moment … potentially Christian-Father-of-the-Year worthy*) … And why did He die?”

Pause … serious thinking face …

“Because He ate too many Easter eggs?”

Hmmmm … so close!! 🙂

Easter presents a similar dilemma to Christmas – where the commercial version of the celebration has moved so far from the original event that making the links, particularly for young minds, can be a challenge. “Jesus died on the cross to forgive us from our sins … and … so we can have Humpty Dumpty themed chocolates and a camping trip with our cousins.” You can see how that might be problematic.

The events of the ‘Easter’ weekend are what Christianity is all about! The fact that the God of the universe became flesh in the form of Jesus Christ, lived on earth, died a torturous death on the cross (for OUR sin) and then rose to life again is THE story!! Everything we know of God, everything we experience of relationship with Him and the security of our future in Him was made possible by the true “Easter story”.

As with Christmas, the commercialisation of the event comes with some great perks. There’s lots of chocolate! There are hot cross buns! There’s a long weekend! But the obvious caution is that we can lose something significant if we don’t counter that message with the message of Jesus.

There are lots of ways to get intentional about communicating the REAL Easter message to our young people. I’m sure many of you have some super creative ways to do that or some simple but tried and tested methods and traditions. It matters less HOW you do that and more that you just do! Prioritise church (Friday AND/or Sunday) and take the opportunity to invite friends and family along, read the Biblical account of the Easter weekend (there are lots of kid/family-friendly versions available), take time to reflect on the significance of Jesus’ death and to celebrate His resurrection.