As a Christian, money can be a tricky subject to navigate.
Does God allow debt? Is it okay to take out a loan and accrue interest? How does God feel about financial responsibility?
It’s no secret that financial struggles can cause stress and anxiety, but as believers, it’s important to understand what the Bible says about money and debt.
Let’s look at the various aspects of borrowing, debt, and God’s stance on these financial issues.
What Does the Bible Say About Money?
The Bible identifies money as one of the many blessings that God gives us. However, it also warns us of its potential dangers.
For example, 1 Tim, 6:10 states that the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil.
Additionally, Matt 6:24 advises that we cannot serve both God and money.
Therefore, while seeking financial stability, we must not let our pursuit of money outweigh our loyalty to God.
The Bible does not condone or condemn debt
Firstly, it’s important to note that the Bible does not explicitly condone or condemn debt.
Taking out a loan or using credit is not a sin in and of itself, but the reasons for accruing debt can be problematic.
If we are living beyond our means or making unnecessary purchases, we are not being responsible stewards of the money God has given us.
God teaches that we can’t serve Him and money
In Matthew 6:24, Jesus teaches that we cannot serve both God and money.
If our focus is solely on our finances, we are not fully surrendering ourselves to God.
Debt can also cause us to worry and stress about our finances, further distracting us from our relationship with God.
However, there are times when taking out a loan or accruing debt may be necessary.
For example, purchasing a home or financing education can be beneficial in the long run.
It’s important to pray and seek guidance from God before making significant financial decisions, to ensure we are making responsible choices and not falling into the trap of greed or materialism.
Forgiveness of debt
In terms of forgiveness of debt, the Bible does address this issue.
In Leviticus 25:10, it is stated that every 50th year was a Year of Jubilee, during which all debts were forgiven.
This was a way for the Jewish people to start anew and relieve the burden of debt.
While we may not live under these specific instructions today, it’s important to remember that God values forgiveness and mercy.
If someone owes us money or has accrued debt, we should strive to forgive and show grace.
Is Forgiving Debt a Biblical Teaching?
Yes, the Bible urges us to forgive those who owe us money or other forms of debt.
For instance, Matt. 6:12 states that we should forgive those who have outstanding debts, and in Luke 6:34-36, we are encouraged to give without expecting anything in return.
Therefore, Christians must embrace forgiveness in their financial dealings and should willingly help others who are in need to uplift them in the power of Jesus.
What Can We Do About Debt?
Although the Bible affirms forgiveness, it reminds us never to intentionally neglect our debt commitments (Ps 37:21, Rom 13:8).
Instead, we should meet our financial obligations and budget carefully to avoid incurring debts that exceed our means and capacity to repay.
That being said, if we are already in unmanageable debt, we may need to take up measures like debt settlement, debt consolidation, or credit counseling services.
Money should not affect our relationship with others
It’s also important to remember that our relationships with money should not define our worth or value as individuals.
We are all created in God’s image and have inherent worth, regardless of our financial situation.
In fact, the Bible encourages us to focus on eternal treasures rather than earthly possessions.
As 1 Timothy 6:10 states, “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.” Our focus should always be on God and His love for us, not on our wealth or debt.
How Does Debt Impact Our Faith?
From a Christian perspective, debt can have both short-term and long-term effects on our faith.
For example, it can lead to anxiety, lack of financial control, and even theft (Prov 22:7).
Therefore, it is important to limit borrowing and prioritize only essential items and needs.
Additionally, the Bible encourages us to be content with what we have instead of being burdened by the need for more (Hebrew 13:5)
How Can We Align Our Financial Decisions with God’s Will?
Generally, the best way to make our financial decisions in line with God’s will is to prioritize our trust in God over our financial security.
We must pray continually, seek God’s guidance through Scripture, and avoid transactions that contradict our moral values.
Additionally, we should seek wise counsel from reputable Christians or financial advisors who follow biblical teachings.
While the Bible does not explicitly condemn or condone debt, it is crucial for us to remain mindful and responsible regarding our finances.
We should strive to seek God’s guidance and make sound financial decisions while maintaining a focus on our relationship with Him.
Debt should not define our worth or distract us from our faith, and we should always strive to show forgiveness and grace to others, as well as ourselves when it comes to financial matters.
Our true treasure lies in our relationship with Christ and the eternal rewards that come with it.
God wants us to be financially responsible and lead humble lifestyles that honor Him.
Debt is a double-edged sword, as it can either help us or undermine our faith and financial stability.
Though the Bible generally warns us about the dangers of debt, it also stresses the importance of forgiveness and responsible repayment.