Repaying a Forgiven Debt?


 As I talked about in my last post, one of the problems I and many others have with Mormonism is that it talks about repaying a debt that the Bible describes as having been forgiven.  I would like to expand on that a little bit more.  Where is the idea of forgiveness and repayment ever combined?  The two ideas just don’t fit together.


I just got done googling “debt forgiven”.  The first sites listed all dealt with either mortgage or credit cards debt being forgiven.  I copied just a couple of paragraphs from one site.  It said:


“All may be forgiven when a debtor reduces the amount you owe, but that doesn’t mean you’ve gotten a free ride.  Your windfall may be taxable. . .


Here’s how it works.  You negotiate with your credit card company to get your bill reduced from $10,000 to $5,000.  You only have to pay Visa $5,000, but the Internal Revenue Service is likely to tax you on the $5,000 you didn’t have to pay back.  That amount is known as discharge of indebtedness, or DOI, income.


That’s right.  A debt forgiven won’t be forgotten by the IRS.  The agency considers it earned or taxable income.”


Notice how it is described as a windfall.  No longer does the person have to pay Visa the $5.000.  But what I found so interesting is that the IRS sees that forgiven debt as taxable income!  They don’t do that with loans that need to be repaid.  They view it as if Visa actually gave the person the $5,000.


That is what the word forgiven means.  When I tell my grown son I forgive the loan he had with me, he will naturally think that he doesn’t need to repay me.  In fact, if in the next month he sends me a payment, I will be puzzled and wonder if he really understood me.  So I talk to him and make it clear that I had forgiven the loan.  Then the next month another payment arrives.  No longer am I puzzled.  Then I will be irritated.  Why isn’t he accepting my gift to him?  Doesn’t he believe that I was serious?


When I forgive somebody his debt to me, I do not remain his creditor.  When God forgives our debt of sin, he does not remain our creditor.  If I continue to try and pay my debt to him, I irritate him and call his word into question.  The proper response to a gift is graciously and gratefully accepting it.


7 Responses to “Repaying a Forgiven Debt?”

  1. August 12, 2008 at 6:41 pm

    I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog.

    Tim Ramsey

  2. August 12, 2008 at 9:35 pm

    Mark LDS people believe in the literal restoration of Christ’s kingdom on earth. We beleive that prophets and apostles have again been called by Him to lead us in these modern days. With that point of view it’s going to be a tough row to convince us that your understanding of the scriptures outweighs that of these inspired leaders. For example, recently you’ve been trying to convince us of the incorrectness of Elder Packer’s analogy regarding the law, justice, and mercy. We believe that Elder Packer is an apostle, called and inspired the same as those old. So from this perspective it’s like you’re trying to use Paul’s words to convince us that Peter was incorrect. I have a testimony born of the Spirit, of God’s kingdom here on the earth; raised up to lead His children to Christ. No amount of intellectualism can overcome that testimony.

    I know you’re sincere Mark and it appears you’ve lived a good life, but I believe you are misguided. I ask you to not take my word for it but to ask God with sincerity and faith if you’re truly doing that which is right.

  3. August 14, 2008 at 5:59 pm

    Ten people who speak make more noise than ten thousand who are silent.NapoleonBonaparteNapoleon Bonaparte

  4. August 15, 2008 at 5:55 pm

    “Render unto Cesar what is Cesar’s, but Give unto God what is God’s”

    What is God’s? Did he not create everything?

  5. 5 markcares
    August 16, 2008 at 1:51 pm

    I truly don’t understand why you referred to that Bible verse. It was not spoken in a discussion of salvation at all. Jesus was asked a questin about paying taxes and he was making the point, with a Roman coin, that we are to pay taxes.

  6. August 17, 2008 at 5:22 am

    But it also applies to this conversation due to the fact that he did say give unto God what is God’s and I think that would also apply to the debt that we owe God.

  7. 7 JLFuller
    August 17, 2008 at 3:13 pm

    You said “The proper response to a gift is graciously and gratefully accepting it”.
    Mormons do just that. We show our appreciation by following His commandments. Please do your homework.


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