Christian Student Loans

Why Do Christians Make Debt So Big?


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It’s no secret that millennials are in debt – some even claim it as a defining feature of our generation (getting to the other side, sriracha).

A recent study on national financial capacity shows that two-thirds of all millennials have at least one source of long-term debt, and for those of us who have gone to college or beyond, the statistic s ‘rise at 81%.

As debt becomes widely accepted as common currency, I am more and more aware of conversations among Christians where “debt” and “sin” seem to be synonymous. This has dangerous implications, and we must stop it before it can spread any further.

Christian debt myths

If you’ve spent some time immersed in church culture, you probably have some level of familiarity with the many Christian studies on debt relief. You may even know people who claim, quote, and practice their financial ideals as if they were gospel truth.

While some of the practical advice from these studies may be helpful, it may also have the additional side effect of causing people to equate debt with sin. For example, one of Dave Ramsey’s blog posts titled “The Seven Deadly Sins of Debt” states, “Getting into debt is a symptom of a bigger problem. You don’t spend too much money on “stuff” unless you have a void somewhere in your life that you are trying to fill. “

Now, on the one hand, that could very well be true. Sometimes our sin can lead to debts we should never have assumed. But on the other hand, this kind of discussion makes it very easy to move from a truth of potential, like “sin can put you in debt,” to the myth that getting into debt is always a sin.

Sometimes people quote verses like Proverbs 22: 7 to justify this belief: “The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is the slave of the lender.

But none of the debt verses in the Bible say that being in debt is a sin.

Debt in itself is not bad

Debt, in and of itself, is not a bad thing. In fact, debt can give us access to opportunities that we might not otherwise have had. Whether student loans have enabled someone to go to university or whether microcredit has enabled a family in a developing country to earn an income, the concept of loan and debt is not inherently an issue. peach.

Sometimes getting a loan can be exactly what we feel compelled to do. Getting approved for a loan could in fact be a method of providing God with in our lives.

That being said, as followers of Christ, we are called to examine our hearts and minds to find out what is really going on, asking the Holy Spirit to show us whether our desires are from God’s will or from our own. peach. When considering whether or not to go into debt (or, in many cases for millennials, After debt), it is vital that we control ourselves first and then follow the direction of the Holy Spirit.

For example, I once took out a loan to buy a house that I had prayed for. Then I took out another loan to buy furniture because the things I had didn’t “look right” in my new home. These two decisions involved loans and borrowings, but I am convinced that the home loan was not a sin while the home loan absolutely was.

Having debt is not a sin

Even if sin has caused you to go into debt, having debt does not make you a sinner. Think about it: gluttony can make people obese, and gluttony is a sin. But if obese people start to eat in moderation, they are no longer gluttonous, although it may take years to lose weight. Gluttony, not obesity, is sin.

Likewise, some of our choices to go into debt may have been a sin – we gave in to greed or selfishness for a moment and spent money we didn’t need to get it. that we didn’t need. But that doesn’t mean that the debt we still owe from this bad decision is a constant sin that hangs over our heads.

The second we choose to let the Lord of our lives also be the Lord of our finances, we have shattered the power of financial sin, even though we still have tons of debt, or even though we are on the verge of debt. accumulate more. The sin of all of this doesn’t come from debt – it comes from making choices based on what we want instead of making choices based on God’s direction in our lives.

Getting out of debt can be an idol

One of the unintended consequences of equating debt with sin is that, for those of us who are trying to live faithfully, we can become obsessed with getting out of debt.

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Some financial experts advocate doing whatever you can to get out of debt as quickly as possible. For example, selling all you can, taking a second job, and giving up all the unnecessary pleasures in life until you are free. Basically, rearrange your entire life so that your top priority – the thing that you cater for everything else – is freedom from debt.

I think it can turn into idolatry. It assumes that nothing in a person’s life is more important than getting out of debt, which is not always true. We should not allow a focus on debt relief as quickly as possible to deter us from being generous, spending quality time with community, or serving in the Kingdom of God.

Likewise, sticking so strictly to a budget could mean that you start to take an interest in it for your (financial) salvation. If the money doesn’t add up, you adjust to make it work, or find another job to pay it off faster, or you forgo a night out with your spouse this month. Instead of trusting in God’s provision, instead of looking for his way to solve this problem or relying on him for wisdom or intervention, we can begin to take responsibility for ourselves and our budget.

We should strive to be financially wise and responsible, but when we become our own saviors, we fail to let God show us what He can do.

Glorify God in Your Debt

I am not advocating unruly spending or irresponsibility in repaying loans. If we take seriously the word of the Scriptures that we are supposed to glorify God in everything we have and do, it means rethinking some of our thoughtless spending and being trustworthy to pay back what we have been loaned.

What I am suggesting is that we live our lives as followers of Christ, people who seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit in everything, including financial decisions, and who trust God’s provision more than cheers. If we do this, then everything else, including the debt, will be right where it belongs: subject to God for the sake of his glory.

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