CHRISTIAN NEWS MAGAZINE FOR KERALA MALAYALEE CHRISTIANS FROM INDIA AROUND THE WORLD
FEBRUARY 2002 DEVOTIONAL MESSAGE
VOL:2 ISSUE:03
FORGIVE  EVERYONE  THAT  IS  INDEBTED  TO  US

By Thomas Mar Athanasios Metropolitan 


H.G.Thomas Mar Athanasios
Diocesan Metropolitan of Chengannoor  Diocese of Malankara Orthodox Church. A Renowned Orator and Writer.

In the present scenario, Kerala witnessed 6000 suicide deaths during the last six months. Most of their suicide notes revealed a common factor of their death that is over burden of debts. Debt crisis becomes a global phenomenon now due to the impact of globalization. The Lord's prayer become more significant in this globalize era. Jesus Christ included strong notions against debt crisis. Jesus Prays 'Forgive us our sins: for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us (Lk. 11:4) 

The Lord's prayer is connected to the historical contest of Jesus ministry. At that time most of the land resources was owned by the powerful group Herodians. Majority of people indebted to their powerful group due to various reasons. The inability to pay back the debts leads to slavery and sometimes-cruel punishments. (Lk. 12:58-59) In this historical context Jesus includes remission of debts is an important theme is His Lord's prayer.

As the presence of the debt crisis dawned on the world, the reality of the world's interdependence becomes obvious. The calculated figure today to the third world debt is about $ 1 trillion. According to the world debt tables India is the fourth largest debtor among developing countries. Almost all countries are indebted but to different degrees. For the poorest countries it is a problem because paying interest on debt means that governments have less money to spend on public health, education and other social services.  

The debt burden makes it very difficult for the poorest countries to attract investments for development. When countries get into debt, they are obliged to the IMF, which offers further loans, on stiff conditions, known as structural adjustment programs (SAP). SAPs usually require governments to cut spending on health and education and jobs, to privatize industries and devalue their currency.

Jesus vision about the cancellation of debt becomes more relevant in this junction. From a third world perspective the cancellation of debts should help to reduce the pressure on debtor countries to promote their labour intensive exports and this well strengthen the market position of producers in the North, improving employment prospects and relieving the pressure for lower real wager. At the same time the beneficiary countries should be able to expand their imports, increasing export opportunities for developed country producers. 

The parable of the Creditors and Debtors (Lk. 7) strengthen this perspective. The Levtitical programme (Lev 25:8-12) which suggest the cancellation of debts. (Lev. 25:35-36) says " And if thy brothers be waxen poor and fallen in decay with thee; then thou shalt relieve him: yea, though he be a stranger or a Sojourners; that he may live with thee. Take thou no usury of him or increase". (Luke 4: 16 18) speaks about the Jubilee man dates of Jesus as he is sent out to bring good news to the poor, to proclaim liberty to the captives to deliver the sight of the blind to set free the opposed and announce the Jubilee year which is at hand. Deuteronomy is speaks specially about debt cancellation, all debts big or small to be written off and repayment against all debts are cancelled one for all. Issaih 61:2 has special reference to the year of the Lord the Jubilee years which brings good tidings of peace and reconciliation to human kind.

Economic instability created under the worldwide impact of globalization forced many people to fall in to the debt-trap. MNC'S and TNC'S tactfully converted this situation to establish their political and economic domination. The Lords prayer become meaningful only when the dominant nations willing to reduce the debts and allow the rest of the world to keep their integrity of life and freedom.


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