Where do you stand on the concept of debt?
It is huge issue in our culture today with proponents pushing both sides of the debate. And probably no Biblical issue about money has been more widely and passionately discussed than this one. We can all find justification for our particular position from the pages of the Bible or from just an everyday practical, money management standpoint.
So, the purpose of this post today is not to expound on and discuss the virtues or vices of debt. We will have plenty of time to do that at a later juncture. Rather it is to help us understand this one irrefutable core concept from Scripture…
if you choose to go into debt, you position yourself as a servant – to the one who lent you money.
Slave to the Lender
This concept is seen many places in Scripture and not more clearly stated than in Proverbs 22:7 where it says, “The rich rules over the poor and the borrower is servant to the lender.” When you choose to borrow money your personal status changes. You now have a relationship with a lender that you did not have before. And, according to this verse, you have become a servant to the person who lent you money.
This is pretty much a one-way relationship because the lender has all the hand (power) in the relationship. The lender can dictate to you the terms of how the loan will be repaid. You don’t have much of a choice in that. If he says the interest rate is 3.5%, then it’s 3.5%. If he wants the monthly amount paid on the 23rd of every month, then it better be there on the 23rd of the month. If for some reason, the lender goes crazy and says, “I know we agreed to have you pay this off in five years, but I want all my money now!”, you better find a way to scrape up the money to give it to him now.
This is what it means to be a servant to the lender. You are subject to their demands and have little, if no say in the matter. You have to jump through any hoops they create in order to play ball with them.
That doesn’t sound like freedom to me. It sounds like bondage.
When you incur debt you have an obligation to repay the amount you borrowed. And until you repay that amount, you are not able to use your money anyway you choose. A portion of what you continue to earn each week must go to repay your lender. You cannot choose to use that money for something else. It is locked into a repayment plan. If you don’t follow that repayment plan, you will fall behind on your loan repayment, which will only lead to worse troubles for you as the borrower.
I’ve had all kinds of debt in my lifetime – car debt, college debt, engagement ring debt, graduate school debt, house debt, business debt, credit card debt, and friend debt. At the time, I fully believed these were necessary to move me forward in life or improve my financial status in some way. I never really felt good about the fact I had these bills to repay, but I just figured that was part of the deal with moving forward in our society. You borrow, you pay back, and you build your credit so you can borrow more to pay back and build your credit…rinse, spit, repeat – ad nauseum. And in fairness, there are many who have proven this formula to work. I guess, in the end, it may just boil down to what you value most.
What we value changes as we get older. The things we coveted and held dear at 25 will not be the same at 40 or 60 or 80. Right now, I value complete financial freedom from lenders and am working diligently towards that goal. I don’t want to be a financial servant to another as described in Proverbs. I don’t want debt to rob me of special opportunities God may bring my way. I don’t want debt to be the cause of more poor financial decisions and I don’t want it to create unnecessary life stress. I don’t want my debt to hinder me from giving generously to God or others. And I don’t want the future to come crashing down on me and be unable to deal with life’s unforeseen events because I am saddled with debt.
I want to be free. How about you?
Where are you in your debt free journey? What has been the hardest part of attempting to become debt free?
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