All of us, at some point of our lives succumb to debts. Sometimes, it’s from the financial institution such as credit cards, bank loans, mortgage(s). Sometimes, our monetary debts are from our family, friends, and acquaintances.
This article is not about giving you advice on how to manage your budget and your money; there are so much available resources in the internet for that.
What I would like to share is about the scriptures, relevant to guide you in tackling your debt(s) and how much money you should lend to your family and friends.
When you are the debtor
Firstly, we are privilege and highly loved that God created us in his image and likeness (Gen 1:27 NKJV). He gave us the intelligence and dominion among the animals; He gave us the talents and resources that we need in order to succeed in life.
As part of adulthood, we cannot avoid debts. Just like getting a degree or specialized skills, working, dating, getting married, having children, explore the world by travels, and buying a car and and a house. Ahh yes, buying a house and a car requires huge cash flow. Unless you’re a child of business tycoons, or part of a royal family, or received a huge sum of money as inheritance.
When will borrowing money becomes wicked?
When we abuse the resources given to us by God, when we don’t manage our money well and purposely over accumulate debts, and when our borrowings are higher than savings and assets due to materialism and addiction, that’s when we don’t represent God. And that’s when we become poor. The book of Proverbs 22:7 tells us:
The rich rules over the poor, And the borrower becomes the lender’s slave.
Sadly, there are people in our lives who belong to this category. They can be our friends, family members, and people we just know. Many of them are in the business arena, or commonly in the work force. Because of the rule that when you don’t wear the bling, you’re not in. When you are in highly competitive environment, and you allow yourself to drift in with your peers norms.
Psalm 37:21 NKJV tells us,
The wicked borrows and does not repay, But the righteous shows mercy and gives.
In essence, when we decide not to pay back the people or institution(s) whom we owe, that is when we become wicked in the eyes of people and God.
No one is exempted from paying debts, even a person who filed for bankruptcy is required to pay off his/her debts. We can use all the legal and emotional methods to get away from paying our debts, but there’s one person who knows our heart. And that is God. He knows our heart more than we do. He knows if our hearts are righteous and wicked.
Living beyond our means is the common factor of hoarding debts. Another reason sometimes is when we allow other people to decide and manage our resources rather than consulting God on how to run it.
In situations when we need to borrow money, only borrow the amount that wecan afford to pay.
When you are the lender
Like many of us, I was once in a situation when I allow a family member to borrow a quantifiable amount of money. For me, money is important especially when it is a result of hard labor, I valued and grateful for every penny I’m paid as a consultant. When my debtor decided not to pay, it’s a big rage in my heart. I felt betrayed because I was promised of repayment which will not happen. Not now. Not ever. It became a grudge and I’ve hold it in my heart for sometime.
Until, my mother asked me, before she died, not to ask for repayment. Instead, give away and forget about the debt. Forgive. And avoid family feud. I cried hard, but I gave in to what my mother wanted. I seek God. After a while, my heart was healed and I just moved on with life.
As we ran our ministry, as we listen to people asking for help, we’ve faced people asking for financial help, some will be borrowing money and promise to pay back in couple of weeks or months. What I’ve learned is, when they missed out their promised payment date, repaying you or repaying the debt is not in their priority list in their current situation. As such, before giving a person a loan, it is important to ask, what is the purpose of the loan? Scripture tells us,
Proverbs 22:26 NKJV Do not be one of those who shakes hands in a pledge, One of those who is surety for debts
It’s a bad idea to be a guarantor of a loan; especially when you do not have the capacity to pay someone else’s debt. As such, before saying ‘yes’ to people borrowing your money, you have to assess if they can repay you. Some will say they will repay you within the day, within a week, within a month. A wicked debtor will give you the promises you needed to hear just to get the loan. Always remember, people borrow money because of the shortage they have. And people will change heart that even God can’t supersede because He gave us our free will. As such, as a lender, only loan the amount of money that you can afford to give away.
Lastly, when lending money to the poor, do not charge interest.
Exodus 22:25 NKJV If you lend the money to any of My people who are poor among you, you shall not be like a moneylender to him; you shall not charge him interest.
God is not happy when you take advantage of someone else’s misfortune. As such, money lending is a high risk business. Firstly, there’s no guarantee that you will recuperate the money you give as loans. Especially, when there’s no written agreement. Second, you should not give interest to people borrowing because of misfortunes – hospitalization, funerals, and the like.
The golden rule of all when it comes to borrowing and lending,
Romans 13:8 NKJV Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law.
Til next time.