Proverbs 22:7- “Just as the rich rule the poor, so the borrower is servant to the lender.”
When my wife was in high school and got her first credit card, her dad told her that she had to pay off the balance each month. She didn’t even know carrying a balance was an option. She faithfully paid off the balance each month. When she started working retail, people would come in and ask to pay part of their credit card bill, she realized most people carry a balance. This totally surprised her because you were supposed to pay off the balance each month. I wish everyone was taught (and followed) her dad’s advice. Unfortunately, most people feel that debt is acceptable. Most actually don’t think about it at all, accepting it as normal.
If you’ve ever borrowed money to buy a car, you know you don’t really own that car until the note is paid. If you’ve ever put Christmas gifts or a car repair on a credit card, you know the toys and car parts aren’t yours until the credit card company is paid in full. If you’ve ever faced foreclosure, you know the house you paid for and thought you owned isn’t really yours until the mortgage is all paid off. If you don’t pay cash for something, you don’t actually own it. The person or bank that holds the note owns it. You are simply borrowing it. While this seems like common sense, most people live the lie that if they possess it, it is theirs. When your paycheck hits your bank account, the money isn’t yours, you simply hold onto it until the debt comes calling. When someone has claim to the spoil of your labor, that’s called slavery. We don’t think like that anymore because we believe the lie that debt is a normal part of life. If slavery is normal, I’ll take being weird.
The Bible is clear that only one debt is acceptable. Romans 13:8 instructs us, “Owe nothing to anyone—except for your obligation to love one another.” This means we pay our taxes, pay our bills on time, pay our debts on time (ideally, you work hard to get out of debt), and look for ways to give and love. I agree with Dave Ramsey that the only other debt that may be acceptable is a home mortgage, but if you can do 100% down, you should.
I’m tired of seeing God’s people being hindered in their mission because of debt. I’m tired of seeing people simply give to missions instead of having the freedom to go on mission. The biblical warning to avoid debt would relieve a lot of heartache in families, businesses, ministries, and churches, not to mention countries. There is no such thing as good debt.
Let’s heed this warning.
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Photo by Eyasu Etsub on Unsplash