`Give, and it shall be given to you; good measure, pressed, and shaken, and running over, they shall give into your bosom; for with that measure with which ye measure, it shall be measured to you again.' Luke 6:38
I am so familiar with this verse that I can usually remember when and where I hear it – in church prior to the tithing and offering service.
However, it wasn’t until a recent experience that I begin to study the verses prior to this verse, and realized my whole life I have been hearing this verse out of context.
Recently, I loaned a relative a large sum of money.As a single mom without a double income, a large sum doesn’t have to be in the double digits, but coincidentally this was.
Deep down, I hoped that I would get the money back, and worried what would happen if I didn’t.
I was so consumed with worry about the money, that I didn’t have room for grace.
“ and if ye lend [to those] of whom ye hope to receive back, what grace have ye? for also the sinful lend to sinners -- that they may receive again as much.” Luke 6:34
Hoping for my money, instead of putting my hope and ultimately my faith in God reminded of the sinner I was instead of the saved person I was trying to become. I was humbled.
Then I got the call, my relative was ready to pay me in full.
Considering that was the call I was hoping for, I still struggled as I came upon, “…release, and ye shall be released.” Luke 6:37
Should I have just forgiven the debt?
The setting for this internal conflict was on a hot, summer day in my car, with the AC blowing full blast – wondering that if I made the trip to collect the funds, would I be on the road to eternal damnation.
The punishing price of gas was a reprimand to turn off the engine and let down the windows while I continued to seek an answer from God.
Then I heard a loud commotion, which was previously muted by the running AC and engine.
Two men were loudly arguing over a debt owed to the other.
“Man, I need my money!I got four kids!You need to pay me right now!”
A woman suddenly appeared outside gathering 2 young children inside.
The other man just dismissively waved his hand as if he was swatting away a fly.
“I’m not leaving until I get my money!”The aggressive debt collector said as he followed the other into the house where the children were called in most likely for their safety.
The two men were no longer in sight, but their argument was still in earshot – from across the street.
As the confrontation and the voices escalated, I became anxious and I’m sure the children became frightened.
I couldn’t take or hear anymore.I started my car and drove off.
I headed to my relative’s house to collect the payment. Beyond the greeting and the mutual departing thanks, no other words were passed.For the sake of the children I just saw, if only it could have been that peaceful for them.
While driving back to the scene of the argument, I was hoping that I would not drive up to the scene of a crime.
I walked up the front porch and one of the men, met me outside.
“I didn’t mean to be nosy, but I overheard an argument about money owed to a man with 4 children, and I just came to pay it so his kids wouldn’t do without,” I explained.
“No ma’am, we’re fine.” The second man then appeared, so I knew no one was hurt.
“Are you sure, because I would rather pay it for him so that the argument doesn’t escalate in front of the kids, and he doesn’t have to pay me back.”
“No ma’am.We were just playing.“See,” as the first man gestured at the other. “He’s alright.”
As I walked up the porch, I thought about how I could pay the man and show him relevant verses from my pocket Bible, but my conversation didn’t go as planned.
I hope by my actions that the man learned to forgive his debtor as I attempted to forgive his.
And I hope that I have fully learned that regardless of whether I was repaid or not, I should have forgiven the debt, as God Has Forgiven so many of mine.
“Forgive our debts, as we forgive our debtors.” Matthew 6:12