The borrower is slave to the lender

Back in 2007 my husband and I took Financial Peace University at our church (we have since been part of a church plant in a nearby town).  At the time we decided to take the class I had been a student (working on my second Bachelor’s degree) and was still paying off my student loans from my first degree.  We were also paying off my husband’s student loans from his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees.  We didn’t have a car payment (although, we did stupidly purchase a new Subaru four years earlier . . . we paid it off with an inheritance that my husband received when his grandfather passed away) and our mortgage was well within the range of what we could handle (we could have been stupid with our purchase of a home, too, because Countrywide wanted to give us a mortgage that was twice what we ended up with).  We wanted to get out of debt, though, before we started having children.  So, I quit school and we started taking the class.  It changed our lives forever.

We learned so much during that time and were debt-free thirteen months later (except for our mortgage).  One thing that I learned was what God has to say about money and its use (see this page for just a few of the 800 verses about money in the Bible).  I also learned new ways to come alongside my husband to work together toward common goals (our marriage hasn’t been the same since).  Of course, my attitude about money has changed, as well, but that is kind of a given if you take a class about managing your money.  This has become something that I am very passionate about, so I want to share some of my feelings about it.

So, what does God have to say about borrowing money?

Proverbs 22:7–“The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is the slave of the lender.”  If you borrow money from anybody, you become a “slave” to them.  If you owe somebody money, then you are not free to do as you choose with your money until you pay back your debt.  This is true even of personal loans.  Think back to how borrowing money from somebody has changed your relationship with them.  The word “uncomfortable” comes to mind.
Romans 13:8–“Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law.”  We should always pay the debt of love that we owe one another, but shouldn’t owe anybody anything else.  It isn’t that we shouldn’t do anything for anybody else, but we should do it out of love, not obligation.
Luke 14:28–30–“For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it—lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish’?”  If you don’t have the money for something, don’t buy it.  Pretty straight forward.
Proverbs 22:26–27–“Do not be one of those who shakes hands in a pledge, one of those who is surety for debts; if you have nothing with which to pay, why should he take away your bed from under you?”  Don’t guarantee somebody else’s loan.  If you do, then if (when) they fail to pay back the debt, you become responsible for that person’s loan.  Co-signing a loan makes you slave to somebody else’s lender.
Proverbs 17:18–“It’s stupid to guarantee someone else’s loan.”  Same as above.
Proverbs 11:15–“He who is surety for a stranger will suffer, but one who hates being surety is secure.”  More of the same.
Psalm 37:21–“The wicked borrows and does not repay, but the righteous shows mercy and gives.”  If you do borrow, be sure to repay your debts.  It is, however, better to be able to give than to borrow.
Proverbs 6:1–5–“My son, if you become surety for your friend, if you have shaken hands in pledge for a stranger, you are snared by the words of your mouth; you are taken by the words of your mouth. So do this, my son, and deliver yourself; for you have come into the hand of your friend: Go and humble yourself; plead with your friend. Give no sleep to your eyes, nor slumber to your eyelids. Deliver yourself like a gazelle from the hand of the hunter, and like a bird for the hand of the fowler.”  If you have guaranteed somebody else’s loan and you realize that it was a mistake, do whatever is necessary to get out of it.  Better to admit that you made a mistake than to become a slave for somebody else.
Ecclesiastes 5:5–“Better not to vow than to vow and not pay.”  Again, it is better not to obligate yourself to anybody, including God.  However, if you do, make sure you pay your debts.
Philippians 4:19–“And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”  This one is important.  What are we really doing when we borrow money?  For some it is simply a way to get more stuff that they don’t need.  How many of us, though, borrow money for things that we should be trusting God to provide, that is, our real needs?  God has promised to provide for us, so don’t borrow money to protect your pride.  I have seen the way that God has provided for those who are really in need in truly amazing ways.  Don’t miss a chance to be blessed because you don’t see the solution God is going to provide.

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Lisha
    Jul 15, 2011 @ 15:36:39

    My husband and I took the Crown Financial course (same idea) before we got married, and I am so thankful the Lord provided that before marriage.

    The only debt we have had after almost 7 years of marriage is Will’s student loan (which is almost paid off!). It is completely because of the work the Lord did in us to encourage us not to incur debt of any kind!

    When it was time to upgrade our sedan to a minivan (while we were awaiting the arrival of our third daughter), we decided not to take out a loan to do it! We prayed for a van that we could afford (which, in boldness, we asked for a free van, since we didn’t have any income at the time!). Friends and family thought we were nuts. Unbeknownst to us, while we were praying, Will’s dad had bought a van for us down in VA, and he drove it up on the day Hannah was born. The Lord provided a free vehicle on the very day that we needed it – Will’s dad had also paid for the registration, taxes, and repairs. God astonished our unbelieving friends and relations that day, in part because He gave us the faith to trust that He’d provide without a loan!

    What a wonderfully faithful God we serve! Thank you for sharing 🙂


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