In times of scarcity, we can often turn to a friend or brother and ask for help, even in the form of a loan. In times of great need, it's good to have some help available within reach, but is it really a good thing to be in debt, specifically, financial debt?
Let's talk about that.
A terrible master
Debt is a terrible master. While we may not feel it at the onset, the moment we find ourselves borrowing or making financial loans for whatever purpose, the one who lends us money somehow becomes someone who has a hold in our lives. Proverbs 22:7 tells us,
"The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender."
I'm pretty sure it's not hard to not see that. Where I'm from, I've seen poor people at the beck and call of those to whom they have outstanding debts with. The one who has the debt tends to do what it takes to please the person they're indebted to, so that they can't "fall off his graces."
Moreover, debts try to bury people deep. Once you make a loan or fail to pay your bills on time because of some emergency, you'll find it difficult to exercise financial freedom. Instead of having the freedom to choose where to spend or allot the money you earn, you end up chasing financial deadlines and paying up for debt.
I'm not saying that you should never ever borrow even a small amount of money when you're in dire need. What I am saying is that before you make that loan, consider the consequences: a debt to pay, relationships that might be strained, and a peace that could be elusive.
It's also a question of what we are going into debt for? Is it because you are desperately trying to keep a roof over your head or is it because you couldn't control your spending and live within your means, a case of 'keeping up with the Joneses'? If the latter sounds like you, learning contentment can really help there.
The right thing
Friends, we are actually commanded in the Bible to not have any financial debt. Romans 13:8 tells us,
"Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law."
That simply means that we shouldn't allow any debt in our lives. As much as possible, we should never ever borrow if we don't have the intention to pay back. The NIV version says we should "let no debt remain outstanding."
Moreover, we should do our best not to find ourselves in a situation where we will be forced to make that loan. If we can find ways to raise money without borrowing, better. If we can learn to discipline ourselves with regards to how we handle our income, we'll find that it's not so difficult. After all,
"...my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:19)
It's an issue of faith
Friends, personal finance is an issue of our faith. Do you trust the Lord to provide all that you need as you follow Him? Following Him implies doing the right thing, and that includes being faithful stewards of His provisions all the time.