THE SEDUCTIVE SLAVERY OF DEBT
October 29, 2008
I don’t know when it happened, but somewhere along the way, Americans were persuaded that getting a loan to purchase things they didn’t have money for was a good thing. The definition of “afford” somehow went from being able to pay for it in full at the time of purchase, to being able to make payments on it month to month.
Apparently someone convinced us that waiting was not an option – that patience, sacrifice and self-restraint was for fools.
I suppose being raised by conservative parents who refused to live lavishly on borrowed money had a significant impact on me growing up. In fact, I didn’t bother to ask them for any as an adolescent because I knew it was a waste of time.
They always bought me what I needed; but if there was something I wanted and couldn’t pay for, I had two choices: Get a job and earn the money – or do without – both of which seem to be discarded disciplines in today’s culture – which is why our world is in such financial turmoil today.
There is any number of resources online to help explain the complex nature of the monetary monster currently ravaging the markets like Godzilla in Tokyo. Our fiat currency and those innumerable instruments of doom like derivatives and credit default swaps have made Wall Street the gambling capital of the world.
And when I see fellow Christians borrow money for things they couldn’t otherwise afford, I have to wonder: Is that really an act of faith, or just plain old covetousness at work?
Since the Bible teaches, “The rich ruleth over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender,” I have a hard time accepting the notion that the Lord provides for His own through loans because, if the borrower is the servant of the lender, how then can that borrower also be a servant of Christ?
After all, Jesus Himself said: “No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” (Luke 16:3)
And yet even churches today readily borrow money for their many ministries and programs as if it were the godly thing to do. But, doesn’t this encourage members to also live beyond their means?
Really now – how much money does it take to teach the Bible, preach the Gospel and be a witness for Christ?
So, is our country going bankrupt because of our needs or because of our wants?
All things considered, I would say the country’s decline, like the church’s decline, could be summed up in a couple of verses from the fourth chapter of James which reads: “…ye have not, because ye ask not. Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.”
“Owe no man any thing, but to love one another…” – Romans 13:8a