I no longer watch the popular television show, Extreme Home Makeover. Of course when it first began I was as enthralled as the rest of America with the wonderful premise. A very deserving family, usually one which had endured a significant tragedy or had sacrificed much for others, received an over the top home makeover. I only stopped watching because honestly I got a bit tired of predicting my own tearful response at the show’s final “big reveal” moment. Although I am no longer personally “into” the show any more, it is still a frequent favorite for others in the family.
The other day, as I was working in the kitchen, I heard the familiar voice of the show’s popular host. I was strangely drawn to the TV. I was not too surprised to find myself standing at the edge of the living room. The show’s story lines are always compelling and this one was no exception. So there I stood, between the kitchen and living room, wet dish towel in hand.
The family being treated to this special makeover had selflessly provided a place for those in need to secure food and items for everyday survival. They spent so much time meeting the needs of others that they neglected their own housing needs. I tried to look away. I knew what was coming. I knew the more I listened to their heart filled story I would be incapable of not crying when they arrived home to see all that had been done for them. Yet, even though I knew the outcome would be nothing less than a tear jerking sweet ending, I could not look away. I was busy anticipating the show’s ending. I was NOT prepared for the scenario that soon filled the screen and left me in awe.
The family had been sent to Disney while the work was being done on their house. (This was typical of the show and every now and then the show’s host would send the family a video of work in progress.) I listened intently as the family gathered around their small laptop and exchanged hellos with the host. The host then told the family there was a special gift for them in “the box” which appeared before them on the table. The cameras zoomed closer as the father opened the golden box and reached for its contents. Slowly he pulled out a piece of paper clearly labeled, “mortgage”. Immediately below this word, written in bold, were the words PAID IN FULL. The enormity of this moment was evident in the eyes of the father. Anyone who has been under the weight of mortgage debt could comprehend the relief he now experienced. It was not even my mortgage, yet I felt a release of stress. I let out a gasp and then felt myself completely relax. The host explained the gift was meant to take the burden off of him and his family so they could continue to serve others.
Can you imagine such a gift? What would you do if someone knocked on your door and gave you just such a paper? What if they offered the same gift to anyone who asked for it? I know what I’d do. I’d call family and friends and tell them all about it! I would make plans for the financial changes and options. I would live my life differently if I did not have a mortgage. It would be an unforgettable event in my life.
“PAID IN FULL” are wonderful words to any debtor. I could easily comprehend this man’s relief because I have felt an even greater relief. I, like everyone, am a sinner. I struggle every day. I deserve condemnation for my sin. But God, in His amazing grace, allowed His son to die for my sin. Jesus took on the debt of my sin, our sin, and gave Himself as payment. The debt of my sin has been PAID IN FULL. The relief from this debt is worth telling others about. It frees us to serve others and live differently. Instead of condemnation, I have been given grace, and that STILL amazes me.