Is Debt Ever a Good Idea Biblically Speaking?
Debt is a national problem on so many levels. There are lots of opinions on debt. Dave Ramsey says no to debt in any form and goes on to say that credit scores don't matter. I couldn't disagree more. First, I think that there is a difference between using credit wisely and bad debt. Second, we are in a credit/finance based society and your credit score matters in situations beyond whether or not you take out a credit card.
More importantly, how do we deal with debt Biblically speaking? First, no where in the Bible does it say that debt is a sin. Now, there are quite a few versus that give instruction on debt. I go to Proverbs 22:7 as the main instruction on how debt works in a Christian's life.
The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender.
I focus in on the word "slave". There is good use of money by using credit and their is debt that causes you to be a slave to the lender. The word slave indicates the problem debt creates. Debt limits your freedom to serve God and be in relationship with Him because you are having to constantly make sure that the debt payment is made as well as provide for that payment. That limits your time and your resources to go where He wants. It also can limit your mental energy. The goal is to live a life without limits.
That is slavery and not freedom. You are indebted to another.
Prudent use of credit is defined as a good financial move that does not limit your freedom in any way. Sure, there is a payment. However, the payment makes sense and does not make you a slave in anyway. It remains credit rather than turning into indebtedness. Said another way, nothing changes because you took on that payment and you have a sound financial/business strategy for using credit and paying it off.
What about the individual who is maxed out and using credit to survive? At some point you have to be realistic and stop the bleeding. Be intentional about getting out of debt once and for all. That means putting a solid game plan in place and intentionally following it using prayer as your guide.
When considering credit, use the litmus test of slavery vs freedom. That settles the issue in my mind. Plus, of course, pray for a peaceful answer to the question am I using credit or creating debt and never move forward without the Peace of God.