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Debt is not part of God’s Plan

Via Flicker by user Jason Rogers. Used under Create Commons License.

It has come to my attention recently that, unbeknownst to most Bible translators and Hebrew scholars, there is actually an Eleventh Commandment: Thou shalt borrow.

It must be a hidden commandment, right? How else would you account for something that so many modern Christians practice so religiously? For most of us, debt and borrowing are as deeply entrenched in our tradition as candlelight Christmas services. We buy cars on loans, prop up our middle-class lifestyles on credit cards and send our kids to college on Sallie Mae. Our God-fearing parents taught us to do this, and we’re passing the tradition along to the next generation.

Let’s face it: Christians love borrowing money like Texans love football — we simply can’t imagine life without it.

The problem is that God is not so fond of debt; in fact He hates it. Why? Because debt is one of the enemy’s chief ways of tying God’s people up in financial bondage. If you don’t believe me, check out Proverbs 22:7 — “The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender.” (NIV)

I can hear your protests now. The Pessimist: “But everybody borrows money… there’s just no way to get through life without borrowing every now and then.”  The Pragmatist: “There’s nothing wrong with using credit as a tool, as long as you’re responsible with it.” And my favorite, the Armchair Economist: “I have an excellent credit score and have never missed a payment. I’m a good customer, and my spending helps keep the economy afloat. How could that be wrong?”

Unfortunately, we’ve filled our heads with so much of the world’s financial “wisdom” that we’ve forgotten what God really says about debt and borrowing. The truth is that God didn’t create debt (never in His interaction with man has He ever asked us to repay Him for anything), and he has a long track record of moving heaven and earth to see that the debts we incur get wiped out. After all, isn’t that what Jesus did on the cross?

God’s heart has always longed to see people set free from debt. He cares so much about freedom that He wrote the Year of Jubilee into the laws of the ancient Israelites, telling them “At the end of every seven years you must cancel debts,” so that none of His people could remain in financial bondage. The book of Proverbs contains multiple warnings about staying away from debt. Even “helping” a friend or family member by taking out a loan with them earns us a stern warning from Solomon: “One who has no sense shakes hands in pledge and puts up security for his neighbor.” The New Testament gives us a very practical teaching on debt: “Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another….”

Still, Many of today’s Christians have made large debts a permanent part of our lives. We’re content to carry around tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt, for decades at a time… as long as we can make the monthly payments. We have willingly made ourselves slaves to something that God repeatedly warns us to stay away from.

If you still don’t believe that debt is bad news, maybe you should take a look at the world today. From the 2008 housing market collapse and ensuing Wall Street crash to the sovereign debt crisis still unfolding in Greece, widespread borrowing has brought our modern society to the economic tipping point. It’s time that we stood up and took notice.

Debt is not a part of God’s plan for your life. So if you’re still living with debt, don’t just rationalize it… do something about it.

Up next: Myth #1 — “Credit increases my buying power”

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  1. […] It’s fine to have a car that you enjoy, but you shouldn’t bust your budget or go into debt to get […]

  2. […] picture here, and try to remove some of the emotional factors that weigh so heavily in these cases. Debt is not part of God’s plan for your life. Debt puts us into financial slavery. Remember what Proverbs 22:7 says: The rich rule […]

  3. […] someone poses the challenging statement that debt is not part of God’s plan for your life, we can get defensive, and react with this thought that it must be okay to borrow money because […]

  4. […] you try to tell people that debt isn’t part of God’s plan for their lives, they’ll come back at you with a bunch of myths and excuses: Debt increases […]

  5. […] we’ve been successful in convincing you that debt is not part of God’s plan for your financial life, then hopefully you’ve come to the place where you’re ready to […]

  6. […] talked a lot about debt and how it tricks us into financial slavery. So this article isn’t here to convince you that […]

  7. […] Why should you pay cash for used cars? Because paying cash saves you from making additional, expensive interest payments on car loans. It keeps you from the possibility of getting underwater on the loan (owing more on the loan than the car is worth). And most importantly, it keeps you away from financial and spiritual bondage of debt. […]

  8. […] is a form of financial slavery. It’s not something that God designed to be a part of your financial life. And in order to find the freedom that God wants us to enjoy in our finances, we have to escape the […]

  9. […] hasn’t grasped this idea yet (and our government is certainly clueless about it), debt is detrimental to our spiritual and financial health. It makes us slaves, and holds us back from accomplishing what we want to with our money. In order […]

  10. […] same thing is true when it comes to escaping the bondage of debt. It was super-easy to get in to debt, but getting out won’t be nearly as fun. Along the way, […]

  11. […] life in general, and it also applies to financial life in particular. Bad habits like overspending, borrowing or hoarding eventually get us into a lot of trouble with money, and can even make us slaves. On the […]

  12. […] retrace our steps and deal with some more fundamental issues. We’ve talked before about how debt is dangerous — in fact, we believe that it’s a form of financial slavery. Debt limits our ability to […]

  13. […] So it goes with money and ministry — every principle that governs finance in the world also applies to your ministry. Yes, God is able to provide for you and the needs of your ministry, and He does so by stirring the hearts of His people to give. But even so, that provision is subject to the financial laws of this universe. You can’t spend more money in your ministry than you bring in. You can’t effectively manage your ministry’s money without a good budget. You can’t build a strong foundation for your ministry’s work without a good emergency fund. And you’ll never get ahead in ministry by going into debt. […]

  14. […] Debt is never a good thing: No matter how you try to manage it, carrying debt always costs you money and restricts your financial freedom. Credit cards can be pretty convenient these days, and it’s fine to carry one as long as you don’t spend more than you can afford to pay off at the end of the month. But if you take out a cash advance on your credit card, it’s going to cost you big-time. […]

  15. […] create a cycle of overspending that can trap your descendants into poverty for generations. God has no intentions for His people to live in debt (or slavery of any kind), and He is powerful enough to help break those chains and help us escape […]

  16. […] is never a good idea. Debt is a form of financial slavery, and it certainly isn’t part of God’s plan for your financial life. God didn’t create debt, and He didn’t intend for people to live in debt. So, if debt […]

  17. […] are several problems with this. The first is that debt is financial slavery, and borrowing money does more financial harm to you and your family than good. The second problem […]

  18. […] can make slaves of us in all sorts of ways. It’s not just greed or debt that trap us in financial slavery: Anytime money warps our thoughts, attitudes or relationships, it […]

  19. […] ways. It costs you tons of money in interest payments and traps you in a spiritual and financial slavery. The more debt you carry during the course of your life, the more restricted you are and the less […]

  20. […] We’ve written extensively about the problems with debt on this site. It’s a form of financial and spiritual slavery, it costs you tons of cash in the long run, and it holds us back from accomplishing important things with our money. All in all, debt is not part of God’s plan for your life. […]

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