Our society is in love with debt!
In the 60s & 70s, you didn’t see people borrowing money to spend on their holidays, for the latest trend, the latest fad or a car, etc. They may have borrowed for a house, which is understandable; but not for every little thing!
How things have changed!
Now, any little bit of cash is spent on endless wants, and money is borrowed for the latest gadgets, holiday spending, the nicest brands and so on!
The western world has a massive problem with debt, as reflected by our unprecedented debt levels. But, how does God feel about debt?
Unfortunately for Christians, especially for us “debt-loving” Westerners, the Bible is generally very negative on debt. It does not say that debt is sinful, but it does make it very clear that debt is quite detrimental.
Once again, both our heart and our mental attitude, is what is important here. Is the debt incurred through greed and/or a lack of personal contentment?
Christians should aim to live a debt free life. It is simply a matter of choice, discipline and time. Don’t let society feed you the belief that debt is normal.
“Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law” (Romans 13:8).
What does the Bible say?
Debt leads to Slavery – The Bible is very clear that debt leads to slavery. Don’t let the propaganda in our culture today persuade you that because “everyone else does it”, you should join them. The use of debt, not only reveals a lack of contentment on our part, but also an immaturity.
“I want it, and I want it now!”
Instead of waiting until you can afford the things you need and want, debt feeds our discontentment and greed. Debt leads to slavery…..
“The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower becomes the lender’s slave.” Proverbs 22:7
Surety – Surety is when you pledge an asset, e.g. your house, as security for someone else’s debt. In truth, as highlighted in the verse below, you should never guarantee someone else’s debt.
“One who has no sense shakes hands in pledge and puts up security for a neighbour”
Loans – Loaning money to friends and family puts a strain on relationships. It usually ends in awkward situations, disappointment and/or resentment because:
➢ The money was not returned on the date agreed;
➢ The amount reimbursed was less; or
➢ The money was not returned at all.
If you have family members or friends who are in need, and you wish to help them, consider giving them a gift instead of a loan. Avoid the belief that a loan is a blessing. It is not. It is a form of debt that makes one person a slave to another.
Presenting a gift with no thought of receiving anything in return is a true blessing.
Please exercise caution as, giving money to someone who is bad at handling cash, may simply reinforce the problem rather than solve it.
Co-signing a Loan – Co-signing on a loan is also a bad idea. Just like surety, it puts you in a situation where you could be held liable for debt that belongs to someone else. Clearly, if you are co-signing for a family member, it places you both in a difficult situation should something go wrong.
What do all three of these debt situations have in common?
All three instances, place you in a situation where someone is master or slave to another.
God reveals through His Word that this is the reason why debt is hazardous.
The bottom line is that the bible’s messages about debt are warning messages. God knows that you can still achieve the purposes he has for your life without you getting yourself into a mountain of debt. The devil desires you to live in slavery whilst God desires that you live in financial freedom. Avoiding debt is a great way to ensure financial freedom!