“The wicked borrow and do not repay, but the righteous give generously.”
August 7th was International Forgiveness Day. We all know that forgiveness is a paramount character trait of believers, but what about debt forgiveness?
The principle of paying back what you borrow is a biblical principle that most people recognize as being both fair and necessary, but sometimes the water gets muddied when people are unable to pay their debts due to personal hardship, or worse, due to negligence.
So what is a believer to do when they are in a position of being the lender and the borrower either refuses to pay or is unable to?
“Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back.” (Luke 6:30 NIV)
When we recognize that all we have was given to us by God, we are stewards entrusted with God’s belongings. As stewards, we are charged with being wise, generous and faithful. We cannot be on either extreme – being careless or being stingy with God’s provision, but sometimes we will be put in a situation where we will have the opportunity to demonstrate mercy when a borrower cannot repay. This does not mean that we perpetually permit someone to abuse us financially, however.
Depending upon our own resources, simply forgiving the debt might not be a viable option. Negotiating and trying to find a solution that helps both parties can be a win-win and ensure that no one undergoes unnecessary hardship. Smaller payments or maybe offering a service or product to pay back the lender is another creative solution.
Applying biblical stewardship can help prevent one from getting into debt in the first place, but some circumstances are beyond our stewardship in a fallen world. During biblical times, God set in place a policy for the forgiveness of debts after seven years – the year of Jubilee. This offered a second chance for those who had become slaves to the lender and was a demonstration of God’s Holy standard of grace and forgiveness when it was not merited.
God forgave us the largest debt that could ever be owed and paid it Himself on the cross at Calvary. When we respond in like manner forgiving financial debt of others, we might be opening the door of salvation for the recipient of our generosity and might even impact their eternity.
Jeff Rogers is an Investment Advisor Representative offering Financial Planning and Investment Advisory services through Stewardship Advisory Group, LLC; an SEC Registered Investment Advisor. *Legacy Coaching services are offered through Stewardship Legacy Coaching, LLC. Securities are offered through United Planners Financial Services, a Limited Partnership, Member FINRA, SIPC. - Stewardship Advisory Group, LLC and Stewardship Legacy Coaching, LLC are not affiliated with United Planners Financial Services.
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