or puts up security for debts;
27 if you lack the means to pay,
your very bed will be snatched from under you.
I've studied this and other verses that relate to it, and I believe that Solomon is cautioning his son (and us) against unwise financial decisions. Notice that I didn't say that he is telling us all debt is sin.
Quite frankly, I think that there are times in our lives when we simply must "sign on the dotted line" --- but that can't happen unless there has been a lot of researching and soul searching first!
We've talked before about the need for good stewardship; we've discussed how we must first decide if a purchase is a "need" or a "want." We've also discussed how it is wise to research the purchase, from all angles, and make an informed decision. Lastly, we have discussed how important prayer is, when making a financial decision.
You see, one thing has been impressed upon me in my studies . . . debt is not the sin. It is allowing ourselves to be slaves to that debt that is sinful. In our world, people agonize over their credit scores, and believe that they must be able to continue to purchase and "get more stuff" to keep up with their neighbors. They've lost sight of the peace that comes from being content with what we have.
I once heard a very old country preacher who told a story about a grocer he knew in a small town. This grocer had customers from all walks of life, and from all occupations. Rich and poor, they all needed what he had, since his was the only mercantile for miles around. The grocer confided in the preacher one day, saying, "I wish I had more customers like Mr. Finney there." Since Mr. Finney was a notorious moonshiner, the preacher was surprised, and inquired why the grocer should want more customers like him. "Well, he pays me what I ask, and cheerful-like, too. The customers that talk all day about church, and about being Christians; they don't pay their bill till I ask 'em over and over again, and then they act mad when they pay up."
Paul exhorted the New Testament believers to conduct themselves in ways that would not bring reproach on the Gospel. In Romans 13:7 he said, "Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor."
Obviously Christians can make mistakes. In those cases, I think that our Lord expects them to simply do their best to pay their debts. It makes me sad when I hear Christians talk "down" about someone who is struggling to pay their debts, and to do the right thing. The first thing that enters my mind is that we all have a huge debt. Every one of us. And you know what? We can never, ever repay this one. You know what I mean . . .
Jesus paid it all,That debt of grace. That's the one. And that is what should bind us together in unity. We're all in this together.
All to Him I owe;
Sin had left a crimson stain,
He washed it white as snow.