Sérgio was going through a severe financial crisis. He had taken out a large loan in a foreign currency, but a wild fluctuation in the exchange rate had raised his debt to more than double the value of everything he possessed.
Sérgio’s main creditor was his father-in-law, a very wealthy man. One day he told Sérgio, “I know you’re going through rough times, and I want to help you. You don’t have to continue the monthly payments on the money you borrowed from me. Actually, I’d like to forgive the debt altogether.”
That would have given Sérgio enough financial leeway to renegotiate his other debts and keep his company afloat, but Sérgio refused the offer.
“I can’t let you do that, sir. It’s a matter of principle. I must pay back all I owe you.”
The old man tried to reason with his son-in-law.
“What you’ve been paying monthly doesn’t even cover the interest on the money I loaned you. Besides, you are married to my only daughter. When I die—and it won’t be long—all I have will be hers and yours. This is not a matter of principle, but stupid pride.”
However, Sérgio stubbornly continued in his futile attempts to restore to his father-in-law what he had borrowed from him. In the end, Sérgio went bankrupt and lost his company and almost everything else.
Of course, we should do what we can to pay our debts. But Sérgio was like many people who refuse the pardon God so generously offers, who insist on trying to make restitution themselves. They try, through good works, sacrifice, and self-denial, to repay the unrepayable, when they could start writing a new story for their lives by accepting Jesus’ payment for their mistakes.
Jesus offers a full pardon to every man, woman, and child. All we have to do is accept it.