A daughter asks her mother, “Ma, how did you fix your credit so fast? Most people who go through bankruptcy take years to repair their credit. You are getting credit cards with decent credit limits and just financed a new car.”
“I don’t really know. I can only call it a blessing from God.”
The daughter thinks, “Yeah, credit cards and debt cars must be a blessing.”
–Wait a minute, is that right?…You get out of debt just to go back in it? Is that wise? Doesn’t God want us to strive to live debt-free and put our trust in him?
Well, as long as I pay my credit cards off completely each month (and don’t carry a balance) it’s ok.
And what about getting a house? It would take a while to pay cash for a house in some areas… what about a car? Everyone needs a reliable car. It’s surely wise to beg for a loan from a worldly institution for these things?”
These thoughts were floating in mind recently. I asked God for guidance. He led me to his Word and I discovered…
Well, you will owe businesses, people, or the government while you are on earth (for the most part). We must pay authorities what we owe them (Mark 12:17) and anyone else. When you pay some things, you are paying for services rendered, but borrowing money is something else.
Borrowing is not usually encouraged in the Word, though God and Jesus tell us to lend. In the Old Testament, God followers could not lend at interest to His poor people (Exodus 22:25). Jesus extended this interest-free loaning to all people, not just poor believers. He said we are now to lend even to our enemies expecting nothing in return (Luke 6:35). We should give to those who ask, and do not turn away anyone who needs to borrow from us (Matthew 5:42). And if you do borrow money or anything else from someone, you should try your hardest to give it back (Psalm 37:21).
However, there is something to consider when one borrows money from secular financial lenders. I’m referring to those title and payday loan places. But other lenders fall into the same boat because they also rip people off and even charge excessive interest as rates are dependent on credit scores. God does not like lenders who rip people off (Proverbs 28:8)(Psalm 15:5)(Ezekiel 18:8). At times, we may buy from or use the service of people we don’t agree with as we live in a sinful world, but should a Christ follower get into a loan contract with a secular lender (Proverbs 22:7)(Galatians 3:15)? With spiritual discernment, we learn it doesn’t align with the Word.
We should avoid loan debt contracts for the following reasons.
Firstly, remember that borrowing can hinder or block a blessing from God because it usually involves a lack of faith and patience. You are telling God: I need this now–not in 15 years or 5 years or whenever I save up enough money for it. Instead of waiting for God to make a way, you take it upon yourself to get what you want. This is the opposite of what we are taught in the Word (Psalm 27:14).
People lie when they take on loan debt. They tell lenders they will pay something they may not be able to pay and are boasting about tomorrow, which we are commanded not to do in James 4:13-16. Only God knows all. We are to say Lord willing in our general conversations and dealings (James 4:15). One might think everyone kind of predicts the future for various reasons, like when you make an appt or reserve plane tickets in advance. There are a few things to think about. People book in advance with the understanding that, if they miss the flight, they just miss it. The person would not be a slave to the institution. And appointments are the same. We can miss them all we want.
Secular loan contracts involve pledges, which we are told not to do in James 5:12. This was intentionally repeated from Matthew 5:34-37 to let us know this includes all kinds of oaths, even those involving marriage. (Yes, ‘covenant’ in Malachi 2:14 translates to an alliance or partnership. God joins the two, not us- Mark 10:9). The only one who should make promises is God. We learn in the Word that making promises is not wise. NT followers can do agreements, such as those involving a yes or no. For example, “Do you agree to take this woman as your wife?” You can say yes (with the understanding this is until death Romans 7:2-3). We should carefully read any documents we sign or give to others in business and ask or make corrections if necessary.
There’s no reason for Christ followers to get into loan debt contracts and become a slave to these institutions because we don’t live in fear like the world and worry about things. Remember that God knows you need shelter, food, and clothing (Matthew 6:8, 26). The Lord is my shepherd I shall not want. In Philippians 4:19, the Word says God can provide for all his children’s needs, but many times, we don’t allow the Lord to do this because we’re more concerned about doing what we want. The Word does not lie, and it’s True.
We need to trust God with our finances. Though he may allow us to take out loan debts, just as he allows people to do a lot of things like murder people, that does not mean He is happy or agrees with our decision.
If you have an emergency, it would be wise to talk to God about your problem and wait for His direction. You can also seek out Spiritual counsel. Then, make sure the advice is from above (1 John 4:1). If you borrow from someone, it should be from within your eternal family. You will not have to promise to pay him or her back this day or month. A mature sister or brother in Christ will not ask you to sign a paper or treat you like a creditor would, as they are lending expecting nothing in return. And even though they will forgive your debt, you should still strive to pay him or her back if you get it. Or offer to work for the person.
You can also ask your church family for help. Tell the leaders about your financial difficulties. A church should help its own (and other believers in need). A separate offering may be collected to help you out. There are also many Christian ministries that help struggling people. Check out our Resources page.
If your need does not seem like an emergency, maybe you should reconsider if you need a loan or financial help in the first place. If you go back in time, you will see that mortgaging a house was a sign of poverty and something people did when they were going through extremely difficult times. Today, the world paints loan debt in pretty colors to trick people. It’s not something to run towards. It’s something to run away from.
One reason people are running towards loan debt stems from redefining the word ‘affordable.’ It used to be, if you can pay for it, then you can afford it. (Of course, even if you have the money, it may not be wise to buy some things) Now, it’s if you can take out a loan, and afford the monthly payment, you can afford it. Lenders and financial advisors are telling people they can afford something they simply cannot. It’s a lie and deep deception.
Sadly, most people are living well above their means, and many fall into this because of pride in possessions and pride of life (1 John 2:15-16). When it comes to financial wealth in these “societies” we’ve created, there are two classes of people: rich & poor. Some people don’t want to accept their current state and take out loans so that they can live a lie. This messes up the economy and makes it harder for people to afford things and gives way to excessive inflation. The rebranding of loan debt is one reason why houses are so expensive now. Loan debt cloaks the chains, and when prices go up, nobody cares because they make payments “affordable.”
Some people might be thinking: What am I supposed to do about a house? I don’t want to wait and save for 5 or 15 years. Well, that sounds like impatience. That’s something we need to surrender to God.
Maybe he doesn’t want you to own a house. Maybe He wants you to move to another state or area of your state. Check out real estate in areas like the Midwest and the South. New Mexico is a low-cost state in the West. Most people can save up and pay cash for a house quickly enough there. You may have to get a bit creative depending on your financial situation, but with God’s help, it can be done. You can go even cheaper by getting a fixer-upper. Maybe He will work out something for you right where you are if He needs you there. Perhaps you can buy land and build your house slowly. Many people are building houses with natural & recycled materials from $0 – $50,000+. You could do a rent-to-own (with an exit clause because we can’t predict the future) if you want. That will help you lock in the price and capture any appreciation, but the market could drop as well. If that happens, you could just walk away. Or, maybe you should just do a low-cost rental for now, van dwelling, or move in with family. Then, be frugal and do a little extreme saving for a while. God knows, and you can ask Him for direction.
And it may be wiser to buy a good used car if you need one to get around. When you think about it, for the price of one new car, you could buy 5-10 used cars. But you may find a deal on a new car if you search. Though it wasn’t the prettiest car on the lot, I saw a brand new eco-friendly car for $5000 with a 10-year warranty a few years ago.
If you don’t have the cash for this, you may need to take the bus for a while until you can save up money for the car and required expenses. If you are not close to public transportation, maybe you should consider working from home and taking a taxi every now and then when you need to. Or, maybe you should just walk if you can do so. Some people build their lives around walking or biking, so they have a job, farmers market, and stores within walking distance.
When we lost our car a few years ago, we got around by occasionally renting a car when we needed to, peer-to-peer ridesharing, taxis, and walking more than anything. God blessed us to do most of our walking on a beautiful, scenic trail. And, even though we bought a (classic, appreciating) vehicle, we mostly walk and only use the car when necessary.
If you want to do it God’s way…
You should be putting money aside (Proverbs 13:22) (Proverbs 6:6-8), and most importantly giving where God leads (Proverbs 21:26) (Proverbs 28:27) (Deuteronomy 16:17) (Luke 6:30) (Acts 20:35) etc… And leave things in His Hands as those are the best hands.
Christians shouldn’t do everything the world does. Worldly wisdom & Biblical Wisdom do not play well together. We must be careful, and use discernment with everything, even if it’s something we’ve been taught is okay.
As mentioned above, you should be a giver more than anything. If you have borrowed, you should strive to pay it back, whether you borrowed from a Christian or the world. And your goal should be to rid yourself of owing anybody, anything.
God’s Peace & Love,