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
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…
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
“The rich ruleth over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender”.
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 can affect our relationship with God
- 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
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?
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!
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