Wednesday, December 13th, 2017

Danger in Debt and Credit Cards

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“Render to all men their dues. [Pay] taxes to whom taxes are due, revenue to whom revenue is due, respect to whom respect is due, and honor to whom honor is due.  Keep out of debt and owe no man anything, except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor [who practices loving others] has fulfilled the Law [relating to one’s fellowmen, meeting all its requirements].”
Rom 13:7-8, AMP

This passage is sometimes used to “prove” a Christian should never borrow money.  This isn’t what it is saying.  You have to keep it in context with the passage.  We are to pay our taxes.  We are to pay whatever bills we owe.  We need to keep out of debt and pay all our debts.  Our goal should always be to owe no man anything.  The only debt we can never pay off is our “love debt.”  The love debt to others will never be paid off as we need to keep giving and giving just like Jesus did.

It is not a sin to borrow money.  There are many places that God has told us we would be lenders, not borrowers.  If borrowing was a sin, then lending would be a sin also since you would be causing someone else to sin.  Throughout Proverbs we are told not to be a surety for strangers (co-sign a loan for someone else).   What is wrong is our casual nature about debt over the past few decades.  People think it is normal to owe money on your house, on your cars, on your furniture, on your vacation, and on credit cards.  Watch TV and read ads in the newspaper, and you’ll see a majority of them not tell you the real price of something.  They tell you only 99 payments of $19.95.

“The rich ruleth over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.”
Proverbs 22:7

If you borrow money, you are a servant to the lender.  That bank you’re borrowing from is now your master.  That doesn’t sound like God has a very casual attitude about debt at all.  You may be a servant of God, but you’re also a servant of your mortgage company, your credit card company, and your car loan company.  You’re working all week long to make them wealthy.  Is Jehovah your master or is it someone named VISA?

One of the reasons we got ourselves so far in debt in the first place was because of credit cards.  They’re one of the worst curses in today’s economy.  It is easy to spend money you don’t have with a credit card.  Just about every business takes credit cards.  They’re taught by the credit card companies that a customer using a credit card spends twice as much as they would if they didn’t have a credit card.  On average, a cash shopper spends only half as much as a credit card shopper.  So of course stores cater to credit card users.  They make more money off them.

We had a day where we cut up all our credit cards.  We were in bondage to them.  We settled that we just weren’t going to borrow any more money.  We couldn’t control ourselves with them.  So we weren’t allowed to have them for several years.  Eventually we got another credit card for convenience, but we have never spent anything on it we couldn’t pay off immediately.  If you don’t have the money, don’t spend it.  Don’t become your credit card’s slave.  If you can’t control yourself, then you may need to cut up all your credit cards also.  Get a debit card which takes money out of your bank account.  Then you can only spend money you have (you’ll still spend less if you go shopping with cash though).

What about major purchases such as cars and houses?   The moment you buy a new car it depreciates.  You may owe $25,000 on it, but it is only worth $17,500 when you drive it off the lot.  That doesn’t sound like a very good deal at all no matter what the car salesman tells you.  The low mileage used car is a much better deal, but it is between you and God.  Make sure you don’t run right out and buy the brand new car just because you can afford the payments.  Use wisdom in this area.

The same caution needs to be taken with a house.  A home doesn’t depreciate usually.  It normally increases in value (although not 100% of the time).  The problem with houses is the fact banks will try to convince you to buy the most house you can possibly afford.  They’ll try to get you on a 30 year loan at the maximum value your income will allow.  What happens when both husband and wife work and one of you decides to start a new business or go part-time in the ministry?  You now have less money available than you need for the house? You end up in a situation where it’s hard to move forward in your life’s purpose because of your second master, the mortgage company.

You would be much better off buying a house on a 15 year loan or one that is much smaller than you can afford.  Pay it off in 7 years and then upgrade to the house you really want.  You would have saved hundreds of thousands of dollars in interest and could probably get the home you really wanted paid off in another 7 years or so.  For us, we bought our home at an auction.  We had the house mostly fixed up and the loan paid off in 1 year from the date of purchase.  If and when we buy another house, we will not borrow money on it at all.

About Terry Dean

I’ve been in full-time business online since 1996. I’ve been an ordained minister since 1993. Yes, business and ministry are my passions. I also love God, my wife Julie, my two dogs, the outdoors, and video games.

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