Many believers labor under a load of debt, struggling to make ends meet because of significant monthly payments. They feel hopeless, with a seemingly insurmountable financial deficit. Or maybe they grit their teeth and try to power through it, only to run out of steam before long and lapse back into hopelessness. How can they break the cycle?
The solution starts with two key recognitions:
- Debt is not evil.
- Debt is not the problem.
Debt is dangerous. Scripture tells us that the borrower is slave to the lender, and anyone in debt has felt this truth. But debt itself is not sin. In fact, some debt can be leveraged for positive purposes, such as starting or expanding a business, buying a home, or getting a college education. Debt can be efficient or inefficient; it can open doors or create heavy burdens. But it’s not good or evil – it’s morally neutral.
Debt itself is rarely if ever the problem. It’s usually a symptom of deeper heart issues, like materialism, greed or lack of understanding of a person’s worth in God’s sight. Much debt – especially consumer debt – stems from an attempt to medicate negative emotions through spending. If the deeper issues aren’t addressed, getting out of debt will develop into a roller coaster ride, with ups and downs but always ending up where it started.
Once we recognize these two key truths, we’re in a position to tackle the problem of debt. A large debt load won’t be affected by small decisions. Often, a major life change may be called for – a change in living circumstances, unloading expensive cars, etc. With the big rocks in place, we’re ready to tackle the day-to-day spending issues in the context of a balanced spending plan – one that prioritizes giving and saving as part of the overall stewardship picture.
Host James Lenhoff navigates the sometimes tricky waters surrounding debt with a grace-filled approach and a balanced stewardship context. Join us and discover keys to understanding and managing debt as a faithful steward.