Is Debt Wrong? Part 1
We often see debt as a typical 4 letter word. Bad, ugly, and perhaps even shameful. And maybe some of that is righteous…maybe.
I know when I start to worry about words like borrowing, lending, credit score, debt, interest rates, and collateral, that the curling of my toes is mostly because I can STILL hear my mom in the back of my head telling me how evil debt is and the importance of good credit.
But there are plenty of voices out there that have mom’s back. Smart, Godly men and women whose life pursuit is to give us some amazing tools that generally help us do 2 things.
1 Get out of debt.
2 Stay out of debt.
So if debt is something we should get out of, it must be bad…right?
“Thou shalt not purchase a 2017 Toyota 4 Runner, nor shalt thou get a home-equity loan to put your kid through college. However, be thou vigilant. For the coming of better mortgage rates is at hand. The man who locks in a low rate shall enjoy 7 years of plentiful harvest and his children shall call him blessed.”
Hint: Don't go looking for that verse. It doesn't exist. Wouldn't that be convenient, though? It would be nice if we had some more specifics about these things. Perhaps if there were something a bit more immediately translatable to our lives. But just because this verse doesn’t exist, doesn’t mean the Bible is silent on the subject. However, flip open your concordance and visit any reference to the word “debt”, with little thought or direction, you could get confused. The word “debt” is too big, and to make sense of it, we must make it smaller. In his new manual, Prosperous Home: A Basic Guide to Budgeting and Money Management, Stephen has broken down all the references to debt in the bible into these 7 categories:
1 Grants (repayment isn’t necessarily part of the equation)
2 Conditions of Exploitation
3 Remuneration and Restitution
4 Dedication to God
5 Moral Faults
6 Kingdom Economy
7 Interest and Usury
If you and I want to find the answer to our question about debt, #7 is the category we probably want to flip to.
Is it permissible or beneficial to borrow from a financial institution? What does God think about that new car? Can I put my kids' Christmas presents on the credit card and pay it off later? Should I lend money to and seek repayment from a friend in need?
The short answer? Its yes, and no. Though sometimes its no, and yes. Indeed, we could use a guide.
Stephen has already done all this pesky dirty work for us. He has poured through God's Word with the conviction of a man called to do so, and drawn connecting lines from verse to verse so that we start to piece together an outline of God's voice on debt. Then, he anchors those lines to the heart, which is necessary for honest application. As he says, “The Bible is not a book on moneylending, but rather about living and knowing our Father in heaven.” It is at the heart where these Biblical principles must be lived from.
Realizing that Scripture grants permission for believers to borrow and lend, while also remembering that any sort of debt is a bondage, proves a powerful combination for the discerning spirit.
If we can let these truths penetrate us and engage with the context of scripture without our pre-conceived lenses, we will hear more than our mothers in our ears next time a decision needs to be made.
You're invited to take a walk with God and Stephen down this road. There are great conversation to be had about debt. The road will sometimes intersect or run parallel with mom’s and other’s, and that's ok. But you'll find empowerment and freedom as you keep your eyes focused on God’s Word and His heart for our finances.
Or perhaps more accurately stated…His heart for our heart for our finances.
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