Even in a nation like the United Kingdom where interest rates are said to be on the decline it was recently reported that at least 50% of the population still struggle with debt and many are shunning its toxin. The Archbishop of Canterbury wades into the sea of sharks to rescue its members as he calls for WONGA - a popular loan provider offering a new emerging brand of “no questions asked” lending at crippling costs – to come under closer regulatory scrutiny.
Why is the Church suddenly waking up to the curse of being a borrower? The reflection we see from the mirror of scriptures on debt troubles those who care to look at it … like the overweight damsel who must fit into a svelte evening gown. But more seriously we ask … will debtors go to heaven?
Deu_28:12 The LORD shall open unto thee his good treasure, the heaven to give the rain unto thy land in his season, and to bless all the work of thine hand: and thou shalt lend unto many nations, and thou shalt not borrow.
Pro_22:7 The rich ruleth over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.
Someone had asked if Moses was declaring a blessed consequence of obeying God or was God giving a command that must be obeyed…and what is wrong in serving a lender if we must serve someone. The old time preacher who declares on the pulpit that no debtor will see the Lord is admittedly going extinct. If we consider what motivates 50% of Britons struggling with debt one is likely to discover greed, wanting to keep up with the joneses, vanity and addictions to that which is not needful – topping the list. Banks know as most of their advertising show that the best target for consumer lending is not the simple living plebian but the “wannabe” middle class… or the doting granny that must help her adorable son.
It is of course always possible to save for what you must have but that is a longer tedious process requiring self-control and which forces you to downscale your consumption. Not borrowing is synonymous with a boring life. Waiting until you have saved enough for a new car model is not endurable. Encouraging more equity-type financing rather than debt requires more care, more loyalty and commitment on all sides and the tougher effort of finding the right partner. The mirror of the word seems to make it worse by declaring …
2Co_6:14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?
Is the borrower yoked to providers of funds that he does not know or cannot predict? If providers of funds have to withdraw significant funds from their banks will rates not rise … hurting the borrower. If borrowers are blessed will it increase their appetite for larger loans, thus blessing the lender? The extent to which the “ Bible-belt” West is yoked to China and oil rich Saudis is not completely understood.
Every one living in a glitzy apartment will extol the virtues of mortgage …but there are far less media photographs of the young couple thrown out of a repossessed home penniless when values suddenly shrink to shocking lows and banks put on the less familiar mask of a foe.
If the Church Christ is coming for is going to be without spot or wrinkle … will respectable vices like subtle greed and seeking luxuries to create impressions through “affordable” debt be placed on the same scale as other more obvious sins. Is the Holy Spirit warning us through the angry Archbishop to reexamine our financial habits and align with the word and not the world - even as the Archbishop is embarrassed that the Church has invested in WONGA – gaining incomes from its perceived excesses. The only way to benefit from the word of God is to immediately adjust while the reflection is still in sight… or would we just simply disregard the mirror?
The blog author has written a book “Wealth out of Ashes” on Christian Principles of Wealth.