I wrote these words on the first of April as I reflected on my attitude towards payback. I identified it as a syndrome because a syndrome is a condition characterized by a set of associated or concurrent symptoms.
Often times I have the urge to hold on to the wrong that others have done to me. I often feel I have to pay back in order to feel at peace and satisfied. We call it revenge. I also feel guilt for the wrong I have done to others and expect to be hurt in return. We call it karma. I am sometimes uncomfortable when someone does something good for me especially if we aren’t really close. I want to pay back the person. I do not want to be in debt to anyone and I call it independence. Sometimes I look for ways to return back the share of a lent hand given to me. I do favor people but still expect to be paid back for what I’ve done.
I am writing in the first person, in order to portray my personal experience, but this attitude is the same for someone reading this post now. You may think otherwise but have you considered this:
When God has been so good to you, you try to be good too and do all the right things. You are paying back for the good God has done and you confess, “Lord I give you my life”. But when you slip up, you realize that you may not have given a 100% of yourself and feel God will pay back and take back the goodness and the blessing he has given you.
But on this day I remembered the prodigal son. He was good and expected a reward in the form of a pay check. His father knew he deserved it and gave him everything that he was entitled to. But this boy went and spent it all and had nothing left. He had to go back to his father but this time he was expecting to be punished as a payback for being impatient, arrogant and irresponsible. He was even ready to make another deal. He prepared his speech:
“Father I know I deserve to be paid back for the wrong I did to you. But give me this second chance and I’ll pay back by being your servant”
He felt his punishment was to be stripped of his title as a son and be made a servant. But His father made a completely different remark:
“No. You owe me nothing but to be exactly who you are.”
Truly, all the offering in the world would not be enough to pay back what God has given you or me.
I considered this: even the very body that we live in was formed and created by God. One day this body will be called back to the dust and our souls will be called back to God. So even our lives are not even ours to payback with.
God does not require us to pay back anything. Instead he gave us everything in himself, his son and his Spirit. He blessed us with even the precious yet most undervalued gift of life. He doesn’t want us to be anything more than we already are which is to be love beings.
We show love in our act of service. We show love in being responsible and agile. Love doesn’t mean we don’t get angry or make rash decisions. Love doesn’t mean we aren’t sensitive or emotional. Love means we are unconditional in our attitude. We do not keep record of wrong and we appreciate the good done to us by others. It means that we also take the proactive step to be good too.
Ditch the pay back syndrome and instead fill your heart with gratitude and love.
“Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.”
Proverbs 4:23 NLT