God has a lot to say about giving, lending, and borrowing. My views on giving and lending have always warred with my desire to save. I believe I have a bent towards being miserly or I am just plain selfish. It was only through the grace of God that I began to see the need to give and to view lending as a blessing from God to the borrower. The idea of giving, lending, and borrowing is a result of our works and the purpose we are called to do by God.
I never used to look at it this way. I just felt that folks knew I was someone they could count on to borrow from because they knew I saved. So, I harden my heart only helping those that I felt were in true need of help. I felt they had an obligation to try to save to prevent them from always borrowing. The borrower just needed to make better choices, create a budget, and/or live differently. However, sometimes things are out of their control and a helping hand will be needed.
Giving and Lending
When you give it is with the expectation of getting nothing in return. When you lend money, it is with the expectation that the funds will be returned one day. We are called to give and to lend to those who ask. Not to turn them away. Per Matthew 5:42 (NIV) “Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you. “God is really clear on this point.
We are to help those in need and forgive those who cannot payback. However, I believe giving or lending should be to those truly in need. I like to spend time in prayer or clearly listen for directions from God. There has been time God has told me yes, wait and go. He has provided the amount I should give or not give. There may be more to the story that I need to know or the Lord may have a different plan that does not include me. Therefore, I will pray and wait for discernment.
Discerning about Giving, Lending and Borrowing
How do you discern the difference between someone spending their money on their fun and relying on others to pay their bills or people truly on hard times? Most times you can tell from the habitual borrowers versus the ones that made a bad choice versus those in need.
You have to have a conversation that includes who, how, why, when, and what. Who is this person to you? How did they get into this circumstance? Why are they seeking your help? When do they see themselves getting out of these circumstances? What can they do now to prevent this from happening again? If they just want the money with no conversation including some of these details that lead to the need to borrow, know that they will be back. However, if the Holy Spirit whispers to you…Give, then all these questions go out of the window. I have often experienced this. God will whisper give, the exact amount and when.
Borrowers should discern if a purchase is an unaffordable desire and not a need. No one is responsible for supplementing your wants. Take a moment and review if this purchase will cause a hardship to you or your family. Review your income and current bills. Make a quick budget, income minus current expenses. Think about what would happen if you lose your income, have an unexpected expense, or illness. Whatever, you get the picture. Debt should not be entered into lightly because it is easy to accumulate but so difficult to get out of. Per Proverbs 21:20, “Precious treasure and oil are in a wise man’s dwelling, but a foolish man devours it.” Do not spend every dime you make, save a little. You will be better off in the long run.
The World and Borrowing
The world also has a lot to say about getting into debt. The world sees borrowing based on the affordability of the minimum payment. Such as, if you can afford the minimum payment you are free to buy. Basing your entire financial strategy on minimum-based purchases will land you in financial debt all of the time. I like most people lived my life this way when I was younger. This is a trap that will drain your future money until you budget your way out of debt.
Today, we only charge what we can afford to pay when the credit card bill is due. The credit card companies have not received a cent of interest from us since 2007 when we became debt-free. I once overheard an older gentleman claim he had never paid a cent of interest to the credit card companies. This sounded so unbelievable until I changed my mindset about credit. On average, each active credit card account makes about $213 for credit card companies per year per ValuePeguin.com. In 2019, U.S. credit card issuers collected almost $180 billion in interest charges and fees – their primary source of revenue per creditcards.com. This is big business so if they can convince you that you can afford the minimum payment you have lost the battle of financial independence.
Borrower vs. Giver
When borrowing one must always be mindful of the process of paying back. Psalms 37:21 (NIV) states “The wicked borrow and do not repay, but the righteous give generously…” It is wicked to not pay what you owe when someone has so generously provided for your need. No one should try to escape paying back what is owed. You should give back generously to those you owe as generously as the one who gave. Payback as quickly as you are able to or let them know equally as quickly that you cannot.
The last thing you want to come out of this is a broken relationship. “A broken friendship is harder to handle than a city with high walls around it. And arguing is like the locked gates of a mighty city.” Proverbs 18:19 NIRV Lenders do not lend what you cannot afford to give away and borrowers do not take what you know you can never repay. If the lender is able to forgive the debt count your blessings. The giver will receive his just reward from God. However, if the debt is repaid count it as a blessing too. I truly believe that no one can out-give God. This how I am able to give generously. To step out on faith.
Charging Interest from the Borrower
Finally, let’s talk about charging interest. I have never practiced this because I feel that if a person comes to you in need, there is no way you should profit. This is not a business transaction. You are helping someone in need. The Bible is very clear – Per Moses in Exodus 22:25 “If you lend money to any one of My people with you who is poor, you shall not act as a creditor (professional moneylender) to him; you shall not charge him interest.” My blessing will come from God for my obedience. As the lender, giver or borrower we should be in prayer seeking God’s direction for giving, lending, borrowing or making a purchase that would increase our debt.
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