Thursday, May 4, 2006

Reminding the Debt Collector

I still get a kick out of radio.

It was my first real job, you know - radio. I started at a small ABC affiliate station in my college town. I'll never forget the rush the first time I turned on the microphone and realized that every syllable, inflection, (and laugh... ohmygosh... laugh!) would be heard by the general public.

(That laugh part is important. It's important because one day a guy at the station went through my news copy and inserted the word "booger" at very inappropriate places. (Which was the entire newscast, come to think of it.) I managed to miss every "booger" reference until I got to the obits. When I came across Mabel Booger Smith, or whatever that name was, I lost it. The station ended up having to send something like a million dollars worth of flowers to the family because I laughed hysterically through her whole funeral announcement.)

Anyway, I listened to one of my old stations coming home today, and found one segment particularly entertaining. It featured a consumer credit expert. You know, the guy who goes after the guys who go after some of us who get late or behind on certain... er... payments. (And if that's not you, please do the rest of us a favor and go away.) I actually booked the guy occasionally for a radio show I used to write for. He's great.

So this woman calls into the show. "I need help," she says breathlessly. "I had a hospital bill that went to collections. I made arrangements to take care of it and it's dealt with, but they won't leave me alone. They claim it isn't over. They're harassing me," she adds dramatically.

The consumer credit guy is all over it. "What are they doing to you?" he asks empathetically. (By the way... that empathetic radio voice is taught. Seriously. They will actually coach on-air talent on how to sound like they care. Which most of the talking heads truly need. Trust me.)

"They showed up at my house!" the tortured woman shrieks. "I mean... MY HOUSE! They aren't supposed to do that, right?! I didn't say they could do that! I didn't invite them!"

Credit guy is immediately enraged on her behalf, but is also quick to explain that, yes, debt collectors can legally come to your place of residence to collect a debt. "But," he quickly adds, "You can tell them to leave. And if they don't, or if they come back, you can call law enforcement. You don't have to live with that nuisance. And if they keep it up, read them your agreement. Remind them it's been taken care of."

Of course, my mind is immediately racing. But not how you might suspect. You see, I've been in the same place as the tortured woman. But it's not with a financial mess. Oh no. It's a spiritual one. I had a debt, and it went to collections, all right. And just like the woman on the radio, I made arrangements for it. God dealt with it. And yet, a certain idiot won't leave me alone. He's claiming it isn't over. He's harassing me.

I got enraged on my own behalf. I mean, he's showing up at my house. MY HOUSE. I mean, he's not supposed to do that, right? I didn't say he could do that. I didn't invite him.

And even as I'm enraged, I'm reminded. Reminded that I am a child of God. A child of the God who deals in debts. A God who also deals with the debtor. And I'm reminded that I can tell that debtor to leave. And that if he doesn't, or if he comes back, I can call upon THE law enforcement. I don't have to put with that nuisance.

So I come home. To MY HOUSE. "Listen up, idiot!" I yell. And as loudly as I can, I read from Psalm 103: He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His love for those who fear Him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.

Hope he heard me. Hope he heard that my God doesn't treat my debt as I deserve or repay me according to my inquities. And if he didn't, I'll reread the nuisance the agreement again.

No comments: