Do you have debt you can’t pay? Maybe you thought you could take on a little more credit card debt or a small car loan, but all of the sudden you can’t pay it off. What does the Bible say about not paying these loans and others?
Don’t Get into Debt in the First Place
If you’re already in a lot of debt and you’re thinking, “Well it’s too late now to not get into debt,” feel free to skip this section. But one word first: Don’t go back to being in debt if you don’t like where you’re at now!
The Bible makes it clear that getting into debt ties our hands which in turn can prevent us from doing the Lord’s work. Consider this verse:
The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender. – Proverbs 22:7 NIV
I don’t believe it is found anywhere in the Bible that going into debt is a sin, but the Bible makes it obvious that it is something we should try to stay away from because borrowing can enslave us. Can we really be Jesus’ hands and feet when we’re enslaved?
What About Not Paying the Debt?
Many loans pay off over time. In other words, you won’t have to continually pay toward your debts your entire life. For example, many mortgages last 15 or 30 years. Student loans might last 15 years or less. So as long as you’re making normal payments, you’ll eventually see your debt disappear. That’s a good thing, but perhaps we should be more aggressive about paying off our debts.
Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. – Romans 13:8 NIV
Did you catch that? If we’re to let no debt remain outstanding, maybe we shouldn’t let it pay off at its normal pace, but instead we should work hard to pay off our debt faster.
It’s clear that the Bible is saying we should pay the debts we owe – in fact, we should pay them off faster than agreed upon if possible!
But what about bankruptcies, foreclosures, or short sales? Or, what about medical emergencies that result in enormous bills? What about those situations in which we really don’t have the means to pay off our loans?
Remember Christ Paid Our Debts
While it’s clearly bad for us to walk away from debts we owe, the fact remains that sometimes we simply can’t pay our debts.
Now consider Christ, who wiped away the non-financial debt we owed by taking our place on the cross. He paid our debt, and now, we can accept the gift of spiritual life because he paved the way.
The point here is that we’re all human.
We’re a blemished, imperfect creation because of our rebellion against God. Therefore, sometimes we’re going to make mistakes (intentionally or unintentionally) and pay the consequences. Other times, we truly are victims of circumstance and bills simply pile up. If we are at fault, we shouldn’t be so hard on ourselves that we freeze up – unable to press forward toward the goals Christ has given us! Instead we should remember with humility that we are under the grace of Jesus’ sacrificial death.
We should always try to pay what we owe, but when we just can’t, we shouldn’t let that be a stepping stone for the devil and bury our head in the sand like nothing is wrong. If you owe something, make sacrifices and get on a budget and find a way to pay off your debt!
It is better not to make a vow than to make one and not fulfill it. – Ecclesiastes 5:5 NIV
Have you struggled with paying off debt? How so? Do you have any more Bible verses about debt? Leave a comment!