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True stories

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"I do not know where I can get the money for next term's school fees."

This is a worry that many people have every few months. Money is often a big problem for us. Some people may try to borrow money, but this makes another problem: they owe money to the money-lender who may not be a good person. Money-lenders often get very rich, keeping the people they lend to very poor. (This is why 'micro-finance schemes' are so good – the money is shared among the people in the village or area, but no-one makes a profit from lending it.)

A problem for many poor countries is that they owe money to the rich countries. In 2005, the 'G8' rich nations agreed to give 'debt relief' to the poor countries in the world. But even if they do this, there is a second problem. These same rich nations often do not pay fair prices for the things that the poor countries sell to them – for example coffee, bananas, and tea.

In their power

When we owe something to someone else, they have power over us. If that person is not kind, we have big problems. But, there is a debt worse than owing money. It is called 'guilt'. As we go through life, we make wrong choices and do wrong things, whether we want to or not. It is like spending money we do not have. When we do wrong, we start to put ourselves under the power of evil, and even bad spirits. Like bad money-lenders, they will not set us free from this 'debt'.

How can we escape from this 'debt' of guilt? If someone chooses to forgive a debt that another person cannot pay, what really happens? The first person pays the debt himself! For a debt to be taken away, someone else must always pay it instead. The good news is that Jesus came to pay the debt of our wrong-doing for us.

The only payment with enough value was his own life. So he gave that – dying so that we could be set free from guilt, evil, and fear. How do you wish to spend the rest of your life? Living with the debt of guilty feelings and under the power of evil spirits? Or free for ever?