Don’t Build Up Debt
“Don’t run up debts, except for the huge debt of love you owe each other.”
Romans 13:8 (The Message)
Last year, after the Christmas and New Year season, the news highlighted how many people had gone into debt due to overspending. Telephone helplines were created in order to give helpful advice to those in trouble. For whatever reason – pressure from advertising, lack of personal budget control, a desire to keep up with what other family members, friends, or neighbours may be doing – many ran up debts that were unaffordable to them.
This problem is not unique to our time or to our society. Paul explains to the Romans that, of course, we have a debt of love to show to everyone we meet. When it comes to money, however, he says, be careful – “don’t run up debts”. He places this instruction in a section of his letter about how believers should be good citizens no matter where they live. In the Hebrew and Roman worlds being unable to pay back debt could lead to very drastic circumstances: debtors without assets or other means of repaying loans back could be sold into slavery (see 2 Kings 4:1 where the widow fears lest her sons be taken away as slaves by creditors). Today we may become indebted to lenders and credit card companies, so much so that we could lose treasured possessions such as our home, and, worst-case scenario, be threatened with prosecution. Debt also disrupts family life and has been cited sometimes as a factor in marital breakdown.
Paul’s words to the Romans are good advice for us. As we consider the festive season ahead, think first before getting into debt. Think before adding something to a credit card, or before committing to anything outside of your financial means.
Don’t build up debt.
Father, help me please in this debt-ridden society to be careful and not to build up debts that I cannot afford to repay. In Jesus’ name.
Study by James Henderson
About the Author:
James Henderson is the National Ministry Leader for Grace Communion International in the UK and Ireland. You are welcome to attend any of our local congregations in the UK and Ireland. For details of your nearest local congregation, check on our website, www.gracecom.org.uk under the ‘Churches’ tab, or ring +44 (0)1858 437099.