The dangers of debt…and how to get out of it – Part 1

spiritual dangers debt




 

 

My dear sisters in Christ!

I wanted to take this opportunity today to talk about a very sensitive topic related to our finances: DEBT.

Debt is nowadays part of our economic system and I hardly know anyone who don’t get in debt to purchase a house or a car.

Even governments are highly into debt now! No wonder that it has become a huge problem in our modern societies today. Here are debt statistics for American households (2015) that I just found frightening:

  • Average household credit card: $15,609
  • Average mortgage debt: $156,706
  • Average student loan debt: $35,000

Source: http://www.thesimpledollar.com/the-state-of-american-credit-card-debt-in-2015/

Once I see that, and having in mind the verse from the Book of Proverbs about debt being slavery, it makes me think twice about my own situation (I do have a mortgage for my apartment).

Is it possible that God wants you and me to be totally free, including from debt? The answer is…

YES!!!

Before we get further into the study of debt in the Bible, I just want to underline that debt is not a sin. However, debt does show our spiritual state because behind it you always have a specific sin which is hidden (e.g. covetousness, pride, self-indulgence…).

Moreover, debt is the consequence of the lack of respect of God’s commandments. Indeed, when God told the people of Israel what curses they had to undergo if they were not faithful to their covenant, He specifically added debt in the many curses the people of Israel would have:

“The stranger that is within thee shall get up above thee very high; and thou shalt come down very low. He shall lend to thee, and thou shalt not lend to him: he shall be the head, and thou shalt be the tail. Moreover all these curses shall come upon thee, and shall pursue thee, and overtake thee, till thou be destroyed; because thou hearkenedst not unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to keep his commndments and his statutes which he commandeth thee”

Deuteronomy 28, 43-45.

Now let’s examine the dangers of debt.

 

The economic dangers of debt

debt slavery 2

“The rich ruleth over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender”.

Proverbs 22.7

Debt is total slavery for us because we do work for the banker or the institution which lend us the money.

Imagine that you purchased a house and that you decide to borrow from a bank:

Borrowed sum: $ 100,000

Monthly repayment on 30 years at 10%: $877

Total of repayments: $315,720

Source: Personal finance, Charles J. Griffin

It looks like you’ll mainly work for your banker to repay your debt!

Oh, and by the way, if you’re not able to repay your debt, the bank or the institution can take away your house! It seems that it doesn’t belong to you after all…




 

 

The spirituals dangers of debt

debt slavery

  • Debt can affect our relationship with God
It means that we get often in debt because we think that we are old enough to take care of a
situation without referring to God first. We don’t trust him enough to get answers and to
provide for us.
Getting into debt also means that we speculate about our future situation that only God knows.
  • Debt can affect our relationship with our family and friends

Have you noticed that many family relatives don’t speak to each other during years because of debts which were not repaid?

How many young couples start their married lives with lots of debt? How many marriages survive because of this tense financial situation?

How many parents cannot take care of their families properly because of debt?

Debt is nowadays a source of stress that greatly affect many couples.

We should remember what the Bible says about this kind of situation:

“Owe no man any thing, but to love one another” – Romans 13.8

  • Debt reflects a poor spiritual situation
Ok, here it is the behavioural patterns behind debt:
You have expensive tastes and you push your husband to get into debt so that you will have the
exact things you want: expensive clothes, expensive furniture, etc…

You want to show off and people know how high-status lady you are, and so you borrow money to keep this fake image and keep your self-esteem…

You saw some things at one person’s place and you start to covet them in your heart… so you get into debt to get the same things because it’s not in your means…

You want to satisfy your greed instead of answering a real need…

There are many behavioural patterns behind debt. Jesus tells us to “take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth” – Luke 12.15

  • Debt prevents us from being generous

I say that because I heard many people telling me that they could not help me because they had huge amounts of debt to repay.

 

Good debt vs. bad debt?

no debt

In many personal finance books, I often read the distinction between good debt and bad debt. But is this distinction biblical?

Absolutely not. The Bible doesn’t make the difference between good debt and bad debt. Actually, according to the Bible,

DEBT IS BAD. PERIOD.

However, I would make a distinction between debt where you have no choice but to get in (student loan, mortgage) and debt that you can avoid with a sound money management (e.g. credit cards debt).

In my next post, I’ll discuss the way to get out of debt; so stay tuned!

Stay blessed!

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18 comments

  1. Lee says:

    I have to admit, this is a subject that know only too well. I’ve been in debt for around ten years now after making some stupid mistakes in my early twenties (32 now) and I’ve been paying for those mistakes ever since, literally.

    It’s come to the point now where every single spare penny is being piled into what I owe and have almost finished paying it off. it really does feel like a black cloud is starting to slowly move from directly overhead.

    I’ll be bookmarking your site to check out your next post about how to get out of debt, hopefully, I’ll find something there that can help me pay off the remaining sum.

    • angelce says:

      Hey Lee,

      It depends on the sum but just know that recognizing your mistakes is the first part! Stay tuned for my part 2; I hope you’ll find some solutions! And I’ll pray for you.

  2. bioelectrobot says:

    I was hoping that money would become obsolete in the first decade of the twenty first century. Money is still relevant, and therefore, we must manage it wisely. Getting out of debt is always a task worth tackling.

    I agree, those numbers are, indeed, frightening.

    The scriptures are full of wisdom that apply to our daily lives. It’s so nice to see that you are using scriptural examples. We face so many problems in this life, and it’s easy to forget that the scriptures can provide incredible guidance.

    Thanks for this excellent article. Well said.

  3. TheDopestMatrix says:

    thanks for brushing up on this topic, I think that getting out of debt is a REALLY good idea especially if it’s personal debt… theres a lot of evidence out there that suggests business debt can turn into a good thing, even though its risky… still worth it sometimes in business cases id say! Thanks for this again!

    matt

  4. Ehab says:

    Hi,
    It is a very interesting post, It comes with a lot of thoughts and ideas.
    I like very much the saying ‘ The borrower is a servant of the lender’, and, ‘Debt is a total slavery for us’.
    I agree with you that debt affects our relationship with God, Family and friends. I am hardly waiting for your coming discussion about the ways to get out of debt; if any!
    Thank you, best regards

  5. Sean says:

    Hi Elodie,

    Very important topic, this. I was once quite badly in debt myself, but thank God I can honestly say that I’m totally debt free today. I agree, NO debt is good.

    I’m sure this article will help many people to get out of debt.

    Thanks,
    Sean

    • angelce says:

      Hello Sean,

      Yes it is indeed a very important topic nowadays! I hope that people will be able to roll up their sleeves and start getting out debt.
      Stay tuned for my part 2!

  6. Elizabeth Haran says:

    It is so wonderful to hear the scripture verses that go along with the warnings to stay out of debt, for I think there are many.
    I have gotten myself into debt as well this year and am trying very hard to pay it all off.
    I think that the greatest sin about debt is that terrible interest that we all have to pay. There is nothing wrong with borrowing money if it is within our means to pay it back without making ourselves and those around us suffer.
    But it is always best to just not purchase anything that we can’t pay cash for, no matter what. Debt is bad for the entire economy as we have seen in the last 10 years or so.
    Whenever I am tempted in the future to go into debt again I will call up your site and reflect on your words of wisdom.
    Thanks again and God Bless you too.
    Beth

  7. Eric says:

    I liked your thoughts about debt at the end of your article. Good debt is bad debt! There really is no such thing as good debt. I always seem like I am in debt so whenever I have some spare money I never know what to do with it! I should probably just save it for the time I am really going to need it!

    • angelce says:

      Hello Eric,

      If you are in debt, and that you have some money, save it to pay it off! If you have no debt, save/invest your money!

  8. Pitin says:

    I used to be buried in debt and it is not funny. It took 3 years to finally get out of it. Proper budgeting, working on side jobs, changing my lifestyle, and learning to prioritise are the things that helped me solved it. I will never do something again that will make me go back to that traumatic experience.

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