August 28, 2016

Biblical Financial Principles: The Cautious Debtor

One who avoids entering into debt, is careful and strategic when incurring debt, and always repays debt.

Repay debt promptly.

“The wicked borrow and do not repay, but the righteous give generously” (Psalm 37:21).

“Do not say to your neighbor, ‘Come back later; I’ll give it tomorrow’ — when you now have it with you” (Proverbs 3:28).

Avoid the bondage of debt.

“The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender” (Proverbs 22:7).

Debt presumes on the future.

“Now listen, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.’ Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes” (James 4:13–14).

Debt can deny God the opportunity to work in our lives and teach us valuable lessons.

God may wish to show us his love by providing us with something we desire but for which we have no resources. If we go into debt to get it anyway, we deny him that opportunity (see Luke 12:22–32). In the same way that parents refrain from giving a child everything the child wants because parents know it isn’t in the child’s best interest, incurring debt can rob God of the opportunity to teach us through denial. Ecclesiastes 7:14 reminds us: “When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider: God has made the one as well as the other.”

Debt can foster envy and greed.

“Beware! Guard against every kind of greed. Life is not measured by how much you own” (Luke 12:15 NLT).

Give and pay what you owe.

“Give to everyone what you owe them: Pay your taxes and government fees to those who collect them, and give respect and honor to those who are in authority” (Romans 13:7 NLT).

Don’t co-sign.

“Don’t agree to guarantee another person’s debt or put up security for someone else. If you can’t pay it, even your bed will be snatched from under you” (Proverbs 22:26–27 NLT).

Debt can disrupt spiritual growth.

“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law” (Galatians 5:22-23).