During my younger years, I was led to believe that you need debt to establish a credit rating. To develop a good credit score you had to establish a credit history. However, they neglected to share the pitfalls of buying now and paying later. Since becoming a Christian, I have found several important verses in the Bible that can help you get out and stay out of debt. I have used them all wisely since I learned what the Bible has to say about Debt.
It all started when I took a financial course at my church. I was a new Christian and only thought God was concerned about my salvation. However, I learned that God desires to be part of our entire life. This includes all the blessings of prosperity that he bestows upon us. All our time, talents, and treasures. But first I needed to tackle God’s view on debt.
Is debt a sin? No, but we are called to be good stewards of the money God provides. We should use discernment when dealing with money. I have learned that allowing our money to work for us rather than rule over us will allow us to use the money wisely. To use our money to spread the good news when we are not a slave to the lender. To be able to help those in need and to squander as little of it as possible on things that do not transfer to heavenly treasures.
This requires us to achieve financial freedom. Let’s review what the Bible says about debt. I found 8 points made in the Bible regarding Debt/Debtors.
Point #1 Slave To The Lender
God sees debt as a form of slavery. We enslave ourselves to the lender when we rack up large amounts of debt. This prevents us from using money wisely. We cannot work for the Lord if we are constantly working for our creditors. Our entire focus will be on paying them back and there will be nothing left to aid in expanding God’s kingdom here on earth. Hence, the Bible says this about debt.
The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender. Proverbs 22:7
As this scripture began to resonate with me, I began to see that getting out of debt was God’s purpose for my life. I could no longer serve two masters. Either I was going to be free to serve him or I was going to be a slave to my creditors. I chose freedom.
Point #2 What Does the Bible Say About Paying Back Debt
What does the Bible say about debt repayment? It is wicked not to pay back. Many people get into deeper trouble when they try to avoid paying back what has been borrowed. You will either ruin your credit score or you will lose a family member or friend. We should always ask ourselves which is most important. God is very clear that debt is to be paid back. Therefore, we should work quickly to pay back the funds we owe to our lender.
“The wicked borrow and do not repay, but the righteous give generously.” Psalms 37:21
We should be striving to be on the other side of this scenario, giving generously to those in need. Instead of building financial debt, we should be working to build up the debt of love. Hence, love should be overflowing in our hearts. This is what God wants from us. Love as he has loved us.
Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. Romans 13:8
Point # 3 What does the Bible Say About the debt of Cosigning
God also does not want us to take on the debt of others. I have been asked many times to co-sign on the future debt of others. I said no all but once. And unfortunately, once was all it took. Yes, I got stuck with the bill. Luckily, God provided and I was able to pay it off quickly. However, it could have been a disaster. I had helped one of my children get an apartment and was on the hook for the unpaid balance. Unless you have the funds available, I suggest that you never bind yourself to anyone financially other than a trusted partner with whom you share a budget. Here is what the Bible clearly says about this debt.
“Do not be a man who strikes hands in pledge or puts up security for debts; Proverbs 22:26
if you lack the means to pay, your very bed will be snatched from under you.” Proverbs 22:27
Point #4 Everything belongs to God
Being consumed with money when we are in debt takes our focus off God. When we were in debt, we could not see beyond our focus on how we are going to pay our bills, and where were we going to find the extra money. Once we started to focus on God things began to turn around. We put God first and began to plan our money around what the Bible says about debt. We began to tithe and God began to bless us. I learned that everything belongs to God. However, if we are overwhelmed with debt that leaves nothing to give to those in need.
To the LORD your God belong the heavens, even the highest heavens, the earth and everything in it. Deuteronomy 10:14
Point #5 What Does The Bible Say About Debt and Interest
I have loaned money to my family and have never asked for interest. Not sure why anyone would want to add on extra money when the person borrowing is already having a hard time. The Bible says that we should never charge interest for a debt owed. Loaning money to family or friends is not something we should do out of profit. We are not a bank or a loan sharks. When we lend it should be to help them get back on their feet. The fear of the Lord should lead you to be merciful. Besides, it is considered a detestable thing to God.
Do not take interest or any profit from them, but fear your God, so that they may continue to live among you. Leviticus 25:36
He lends at interest and takes a profit. Will such a man live? He will not! Because he has done all these detestable things, he is to be put to death; his blood will be on his own head. Ezekiel 18:13
Point #6 The Bible Says We Should Not Oppress The Borrower
We should treat everyone that is seeking help from us righteously with empathy and compassion. It sometimes takes a lot for people to humble themselves to ask for help. We are to give generously to those in need. We should not hold it over their heads or make demands from them because they owe us money. Do not feel that someone owes you because they owe you money. We should also not require any collateral for the money borrowed. What the Bible says about debt in this circumstance is that we don’t rob others but we give to them.
We must remember that our ability to give comes from the wealth created by God and we must be good stewards. Finally, we should not share this information with others. Thereby, making this information common knowledge and an embarrassment for the person in debt. God will pour out his blessings so that what you could ever give will be far surpassed.
He does not oppress anyone or require a pledge for a loan. He does not commit robbery but gives his food to the hungry and provides clothing for the naked. Ezekiel 18:16
“Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” Luke 6:38
Point #7 Forgive Debt
Sometimes we just have to forgive a debt. As much as the person may want to pay your back. They simply cannot. What does the Bible say about debt forgiveness? After seven years, cancel the debt. However, sometimes I know upfront that the person does not have the ability to pay back. In this case, we must decide in our hearts that it is a gift. God would prefer that we look to him for the return of this money. God has found many creative ways to bless me with money when I least expect it.
However, we should never loan money that we cannot do without no matter what the circumstances. I also believe that if we can give, we should treat each loan to a person in need as a gift. If they return it you are blessed if they don’t you are also blessed. We always feel good when we do good.
Then Moses commanded them: “At the end of every seven years, in the year for canceling debts, during the Festival of Tabernacles, Deuteronomy 31:10
The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go. Matthew 18:27
Point #8 God Forgives Our Debt
This leads me to God and forgiveness. The Bible clearly states that God forgives our debt as we forgive our debtors. If both parties maintain biblical principles then the lending and borrowing of money should not cause any issues. However, if it does remember to forgive. I understand that God has placed us in this situation for us to give of our time, talents, and treasure. Those borrowing should strive to make every effort to pay back. However, if they are unable, they should ask for forgiveness. The Bible says that we should forgive the debt. Trust in God that he will provide more than enough for our needs if the funds are not returned.
And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. Matthew 6:12
One last thought. We are God’s greatest treasure and He wants a relationship with us throughout eternity. God has made us His inheritance. His holy people.
I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people Ephesians 1:18
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