Owe No One
March 15, 2019
Give to everyone what you owe them: Pay your taxes and government fees to those who collect them, and give respect and honor to those who are in authority. Owe nothing to anyone—except for your obligation to love one another. If you love your neighbor, you will fulfill the requirements of God’s law. Romans 13:7-8
Sometimes you will hear that God forbids debt. Not true. All through the Bible we are told to lend our resources willingly and wisely and to not charge exorbitant interest. Those messages alone tell us it is permissible, but along with them, God’s writers always point out that the debtor is in the least desirable position. They need to work very hard to never be in overwhelming debt, and to pay off those debts and get into the position where they can give and lend. Christians need to be known for their generosity.
Paul is not telling us we can’t borrow, but he’s saying if we do, we must pay it back. Several translations expand this to say, “Let no debt remain outstanding (unpaid) to anyone—except your obligation to love one another.” He is saying, “We can write ‘paid in full’ on our financial loans eventually as we work hard to be responsible. Never leave a debt hanging out there, unpaid. The only debt you will never pay in full is your debt to love one another. That is a lifelong responsibility. It is a responsibility that will never get checked off on your ‘to-do’ list.”
Responsible debt is a last choice and should be entered wisely and responsibly. We should pay our debts fully, and get out of debt as quickly as possible. Dave Ramsey suggests that when you pay off a car loan, you should commit to drive it as long as possible, and put the former car payment in savings. You can build up enough money to buy the car with cash and thus cut the price and pay no interest.
Do it. Pay off your debts as you work hard. Every day put a big deposit in someone else’s love bank.
- Ask God: Father, financially or relationally, what do You want me to do with my debts?