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Monday, August 1, 2011

Is Not Paying Your Debts a Spiritual Problem?

There is no prohibition against debt in the Bible. There are times when debt is the most practical choice a person may choose. It is practical when buying a house or even starting a business. However, it needs to be entered into carefully and with every thought of how it will be paid.

While in college I knew a guy who couldn't pay all of his debts. He was afraid of having everything he owned re-possessed. So, he went underground. He disappeared from the grid. He paid for everything with cash and sent money orders to his creditors. He said he was going to continue to do so until he had completely paid his bills.

Today, creditors would love this guy. Sure, they could repossess his equipment and sell it for immediate cash but the chances of being completely paid would be slim. They would be much better off taking less money over more time. It is much better to work it out with their customers.

Many people think they can simply walk away from their debts without any mark on their Christian life. The Bible does not support this. In fact, the Bible does not support paying only the interest or even refinancing for more and more money. The Bible says that the wicked do not pay their debts.

I have debt. I owe on my house and on a new heating/ac unit for my house. The latter came because the company gave me a ten percent discount without interest if it was paid in full  within a year. I set up the payments so that the debt will be paid within a year.  The money was already in the bank so I didn't have to worry about paying for it.

I refinanced my house by putting a significant amount of money into the closing so that I cut my debt. I pay off every credit card in full every month. I save the money before buying a car. I haven't had a car payment since 1982. I want to make sure that debt never controls me. Debt is evil when it controls you.

The Bible says, "The Lord will provide." Often people do not wait for Him to provide and get into debt that they never should have entered. They buy things that they never really needed. They do not wait for His supply and accept what the world provides.

I do not say that people shouldn't have debt. Surely, there are good reasons to do so. Car payments do not make you evil. Borrowing for a house does not destroy your relationship with God. Debt that controls you will.

Yes, debt can be a spiritual problem.

Psalm 37:21 (ESV)
21 The wicked borrows but does not pay back, but the righteous is generous and gives;

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