Forgiving the Debt

Danny wants to know if he should forgive the balance on a debt for a business he sold to his friends. His wife wants them to pay. What would Dave do?

QUESTION: Danny in Michigan wants to know if he should forgive the balance on a debt for a business he sold to his friends. They still owe $10,000, and the original debt was about $14,000. His wife wants them to pay. What would Dave do?

ANSWER: It sounds like $10,000 is not the end of the world for you, but it’s also not a small amount to you. You say you’ve been forgiven of debt in the past by a bank, but that was business. You shouldn’t feel any spiritual compulsion to forgive any of this debt due to a large bank forgiving a delinquent debt. I really appreciate your spirit and how you are just open to this idea.

If you and your wife come to the agreement that you’re going to forgive this, and you meet these people three years from now, how will it feel to have dinner with them? I think the decision to damage or ruin wherever we end up was made when you loaned them the money, not when you forgive it. You are not going to get it back. It’s never going to be the same, because you were in a deal together that went bad.

I think I would be on your team and my wife, Sharon, would be on your wife’s team here. I would call them and invite them to have some coffee together. Tell them you’ve been talking about this and you don’t like how the relationship is messed up. We feel like you guys owe this money and you’re kind of messing around with us on one hand.

On the other hand, we’ve had people in the past who have been good to us and we are thinking about waiving some or all of this. Let them talk for a few minutes about this. See what kind of spirit you get out of that, then go home and pray and make a decision about it.

I think you’re all right to forgive it, but it’s not mandatory here. But if you feel like God’s telling you to forgive it, you certainly do. A way to tell that is this: If you are both believers, you’ll both get it. You’ll both be okay with it. If Sharon and I disagree about something and one of us says that God is telling them, then that doesn’t work. We don’t play the God card on each other.

Unity in a married couple is a real sign that God is present in the situation. There is no hurry here.

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