By Tope Banso
PAY OFF YOUR DEBTS
“The wicked borrows and does not repay, but the righteous shows mercy and gives” (Psalm 37:21 New King James Version).
It is not a sin to borrow, but it is a sin to borrow and not pay back. Many Christians, including pastors, are guilty of this. No matter the excuse anyone gives, it is not only immoral to borrow and not pay back, it is a sin. This is why it is very important to think very well, consider your income and, where necessary, seek professional advice before you borrow.
Some people have used the scripture, “Owe no man anything, but to love one another” (Romans 13:8a King James Version) to argue that borrowing is a sin. No. I do not see anything in that scripture that condemns borrowing. The New Living Translation renders that verse thus: “Pay all your debts, except the debt of love for others.” That scripture does not prohibit borrowing, but emphasises the need to pay back what you owe.
If borrowing were a sin, Jesus would not have said, “And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive back, what credit is that to you? For even sinners lend to sinners to receive as much back. But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil. Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful” (Luke 6:34-36 New King James Version).
There may be justifiable reasons to take on debt, but the Bible says if you do, you must pay back. Accumulating debts or taking on debts denies you of your liberty. Debt is like slavery until you pay back. Proverbs 22:7 says the rich rule the poor, so the borrower is servant to the lender. Therefore, ensure that you take on debt only when it is unavoidable. Don’t incur debts or loans on non-essentials, but for investments when there is no other alternative. Be sure, as much as possible, you have all the necessary information about the investments and you have the capacity to pay back.
Don’t take on debts for your wants. Differentiate between your wants and your needs. Don’t take on debts to settle other debts. You will continue in an unending cycle of debts. Don’t borrow because others are or a bank invites you to do so.
If you’re going to walk in financial liberty, you must be careful about debts. Don’t follow those who joyfully say nobody can do without debts. Most people who say that incur debts that are not tied to wise investments. Their debts end up becoming bad debts. It may amount to wickedness to borrow and refuse to pay back. It is like paying back good with evil. “The wicked borrows and does not repay, but the righteous shows mercy and gives” (Psalm 37:21 New King James Version).
Avoid debts, especially when it is not for investments, and pay off your debts. I can’t overemphasise this: Seek God’s guidance and, where necessary, seek professionals’ advice if you must borrow. Don’t enslave yourself to anyone or any bank. Many loan defaulters have lost their businesses and collaterals to banks. Repay your debts.
Matthew 18:23-35 tells us the story of the unforgiving servant. In addition to the issue of unforgiveness, one significant thing in that story is that the two servants couldn’t pay their debts. They were bad debts. Don’t rush into debts. Paying back debts is not always easy, whether it has to do with car loans, house rents, credit purchases, children’s school fees, or student loans.
Similarly, Luke 7:41-42 talks about two debtors who couldn’t pay their debts: “There was a certain creditor who had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. And when they had nothing with which to repay, he freely forgave them both. Tell Me, therefore, which of them will love him more?” (New King James Version).
Don’t incur debts you won’t be able to pay. Not all creditors forgive debts. In 2 Kings 4, the creditor would have taken away the two sons of the poor widow of one of the sons of the prophets, because of unpaid debt. The creditor didn’t forgive the debt by considering that the debtor was a servant of God before he died! He wanted his money or the debtor’s two sons to serve him until the debt was paid in full. The poor widow was not free until she repaid her late husband’s debt.
Beware of unnecessary purchases that can put your finances in trouble and push you into debts. Shop less so as to minimize your expenses. Before you buy anything, ask yourself: Is there actually a need for it? Is there a viable alternative to it? Can I afford it now? What is my motive? Have I prayed about it?
Spending more than what you earn will put you under financial pressure, which may push you into debts. Discipline yourself in the use of your credit card. Don’t run your life on credits. If you’ve borrowed and you’ve not paid, stop further borrowing. Stop pilling up debts, thereby enslaving yourself. “Don’t run up debts” (Romans 18: 8a The Message). Agree with your creditors on repayment plans and keep to the agreements reached. Determine to be debt-free. Stop accumulating new debts.
Avoid covetousness; be content with what you have (Hebrews 13:5). Stop comparing yourself with others (2 Corinthians 10:12). Be yourself; be who God wants you to be. Sometimes, there are demonic attacks against people’s finances in form of sicknesses, tragedies, etc., that drain off their resources and force them to borrow to find solutions to their problems. Pray against such satanic attacks.
Pay off your debts. This will give you financial freedom and peace of mind. You may not have what others have, which, most times, are just wants and not needs, but you will not live in the fear of your creditors. Avoid materialism. Pay your debts. Inculcate financial discipline. “Plan carefully and you will have plenty; if you act too quickly, you will never have enough” (Proverbs 21:5 Good News Translation).
Stop praying that your creditors will forget or die! That’s not only ridiculous but wicked. Rather, discipline yourself financially, pray for God’s provision to pay off your debts and take practical steps to pay, even if it’s little by little. When God provides, don’t divert it to something else. See payment of your debts as a priority, even if your creditor is not disturbing you.
Because refusing to pay off your debts is a sin, it may hinder God’s blessings in your life; it may hinder your prayers. You have wronged someone by refusing to pay your debt. He has something against you. God may hear his prayer concerning that debt. Matthew 5:23-24 says you should leave your sacrifice at the altar and first go and reconcile with someone who has something against you and then come back to offer your sacrifice. Go and pay back what you owe.
Telling people to pay off their debts is always a painful truth. Many debtors don’t like to hear that. Some justify or rationalize it, but the Word of God says everyone should pay back his debt.
I pray for those that life adversities pushed into debts or have made it difficult or impossible for them to pay off their debts. The LORD will deliver them from such adversities. May the LORD turn their lives around and remove from them the yoke of debts. May He give them wisdom to manage their finances.
Don’t be a wicked Christian-debtor; pay off your debts. Be a person of integrity. This applies to individuals and organizations, including businesses, churches and Christian ministries. Give to everyone what you owe them (Romans 13:7a).
If you’re not born again, repent of your sins today and accept Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. Whoever comes to Him, He will by no means cast out.
PRAYER POINT: I destroy every yoke of debt in my life in Jesus’ name. I will not be a wicked person; I will pay off my debts. I shall maintain financial discipline. No more unnecessary purchases or living on credit.
This is wisdom for living, and it’s worth sharing. Please share.
(For over 260 in-depth and insightful messages by T. O. Banso, visit: www.cedarministry.org).
▪ Banso, a pastor, heads Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
Tel No: +2348155744752, +2348033113523; WhatsApp No: +2349081295947
Pay off your debts, it is wicked not to do so, if you can
By Tope Banso