paying-debt-lrgSometimes taking responsibility for our lives means completing unfinished business. Some of us may have left a trail of broken laws and relationships – things that need addressing before moving on. Others may be burdened by debts that inhibit spiritual pursuits. Part of moving forward spiritually is to take full responsibility for wrongs done in the past.

New life in Christ doesn’t excuse past obligations or erase ongoing consequences of past sins. When the apostle Paul was in prison, he led a runaway slave to Christ. But then Paul sent him back to his master – even though the slave faced a possible death penalty for his offense! Paul sent a letter back with the fugitive saying that if he had caused any harm or stolen anything that Paul would pay for it. Paul recognized that even though the slave was now a Christian and was forgiven of his sins, he needed to address the wrongs he’d committed in the past.

Likewise, before you can move ahead, you must face the unfinished business of the past. This may include facing up to some cowardly behavior, crooked schemes, or quick-fix solutions to difficult problems that just didn’t work. While you can be certain that God will meet you where you are, He calls you to take responsibility for the sins that brought you to whatever circumstances you’re presently in. Once you accept ownership of your past, God will help you move ahead. But He’ll do it His way, not yours.