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The Shame of Debt

Up until about 60 years ago, borrowing money was generally frowned upon by society. Even today, nobody likes that one “friend” that always tries to mooch cash off you. Borrowing puts you in a place of disadvantage.

The rich rules over the poor,
and the borrower is the slave of the lender.
—Proverbs 22:7

Why, then, is consumer debt so prevalent today? Partly because businesses are really good at marketing instant gratification. You need it now.

With college students being told that student loans are normal, everyone being mailed credit card offer after offer promising low interest rates and high credit limits, and car manufacturers enticing would-be car owners with zero-down delayed payment plans, it’s no wonder that everyone has so much consumer debt. Marketers have done a fantastic job at normalizing it. Everyone has it, why not you? Your All Important Credit Score is even dependent on you going into debt regularly!

As a society, we need to reintroduce the idea that debt is shameful. Let me say that again: debt is shameful. If you have debt of any kind, you should be ashamed!

As Christians, especially, debt is such a hindrance to ministry and a bad witness to the world. If we believe in a God who provides for us, why are we borrowing money?

No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.
—Matthew 6:24

But wait a minute, didn’t the verse in Proverbs say the borrower is the slave of the lender? If you have debt, you serving the lender, not God. Debt ties you down and prevents you from serving God in the capacity to which He’s calling you. If God called you to get up and go like he did Abraham, could you? Or would there be too many bills to pay off first, too many loose ends to tie up, too many burdens to leave behind?

My goal is not to be criticizing or discouraging, but admonishing and encouraging. Ari graduated with her bachelor degree last fall, and had accrued over $26,000 of student loan debt. That’s a stupid amount of money to owe after graduation, yet some people owe even more! But by buckling down our budget and living well within our means, we were able to pay off all of her student loans in less than 6 months. We are now debt free.

But while we were paying off those loans, it sure felt like indentured servitude. No freedom to spend that hard earned money how we wanted. No freedom even to give it away! (We still tithed, but no gifts or giving beyond that.) Now that is shameful. I was ashamed to have to make that loan payment.

Paying off debt is hard. It’s so much easier to avoid debt from the start. But if you have debt, be encouraged: you can pay it off and free yourself from the lenders! Get mad at your debt, live within your means, and start building wealth instead of building a high credit score.

We have gone through Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University class twice now, and it’s such a fantastic resource to get on a budget, get debt paid off, and get on the road to wealthiness and giving. We highly recommend it.

Owe no one anything, except to love each other.
—Romans 13:8a

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