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Borrowing and Lending

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Christian Topic: Borrowing And Lending
October 25, 2004 - by Crown Financial Ministries

Benjamin Franklin’s said, “Neither a borrower nor a lender be.” That’s good common sense, but it’s not from God’s Word.
Biblical principles help guide our decisions, but principals are not laws.

Principle – It’s better not to borrow if the loan must be taken with surety. “A man lacking in sense pledges and becomes guarantor in the presence of his neighbor” (Proverbs 17:18).

Law – It’s a sin to borrow and not repay. “The wicked borrows and does not pay back, but the righteous is gracious and gives” (Psalm 37:21).

Principle: Debt isn’t normal
When we “Diligently obey . . . the Lord [He] will open for you His good storehouse . . . to bless all the work of your hand; and you shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow” (Deuteronomy 28:1, 12). Borrowing is never God's best for His people.

Principle: Don’t accumulate long-term debt
The average American family uses 40 to 70 percent of their income for a 30-year mortgage to buy a home; but the longest term of debt God’s people took on was about seven years (see Deuteronomy 15:1-2).

Principle: Avoid surety
Surety is an obligation to pay without a guaranteed way to repay, such as cosigning a loan (see Proverbs 17:18). The only way to avoid surety is to collateralize a loan with property that covers the complete debt.

Principle: The borrower is absolutely obligated to repay
Annually, millions of borrowers add more debt than they can repay, then choose bankruptcy to postpone or avoid repayment. Some voluntary bankruptcy may be acceptable – but only to protect the creditors, never to avoid payment. God doesn’t allow exceptions to keeping vows. “It is better that you should not vow than that you should vow and not pay” (Ecclesiastes 5:5).

Borrowers and lenders create master/slave relationships. Solomon’s words are clear: "The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower becomes the lender’s slave"(Proverbs 22:7).

• Don’t charge interest to other believers (see Deuteronomy 23:19).  
• Lending to others: "You may charge interest to a foreigner, but to your countryman you shall not charge interest, so that the Lord your God may bless you in all that you undertake in the land which you are about to enter to possess" (Deuteronomy 23:20). Just because we can charge interest to nonbelievers doesn’t mean that we must.

• From believers – Never take another Christian before the secular court for any reason, and this certainly applies to collecting a debt. God’s Word says it’s better to be defrauded than to lose our witness by suing one another (see 1 Corinthians 6:1 and 7).
• From non-believers – Just because we’re not to sue other Christians, doesn’t mean it’s okay to sue non-Christians to collect debts. Luke 6:30-31 doesn’t absolutely state that we shouldn’t sue to collect a debt, but it does imply a much higher standard of behavior from believers, since we represent the Lord Jesus Christ.

Lending at interest isn’t unbiblical under most situations, but God sets the bar higher for us (see Luke 6:34).

© Copyright 2004, Crown Financial Ministries. All rights reserved.

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