This week I’m continuing to think through the implications of the statement: the borrower is slave to the lender. How does this impact Christian loans and Christian lenders?
Perhaps, I’m wrong, but taken at face value, this passage (Prov. 22:7) seems to indicate that any Christian who lends would then be a master. Since the Bible says we have only one master, then it seems as if it would be wrong to lend because we would be making ourselves masters over others. Why would any Christian want to put another person into bondage? We have been set free by Jesus Christ so there is no reason to once again subject ourselves or another to bondage. Could we read Romans 6:1-4 and apply that to Christian lenders, bondage, and borrowing?
Why don’t we attack Christian lenders with the same passion as we would human slave masters?
And I do continue to lend money. I lend money because I think the Bible says it can be an act of kindness.
How Christian Lenders and Loans is a Gracious Act
- Rather be openhanded and freely lend him whatever he needs. (Deuteronomy 15:8 NIV)
- They are always generous and lend freely; their children will be blessed. (Psalm 37:26 NIV)
- Good will come to him who is generous and lends freely, who conducts his affairs with justice. (Psalm 112:5 NIV)
- And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ lend to ‘sinners,’ expecting to be repaid in full. (Luke 6:34 NIV)
These passages seem to indicate that helping others through a loan is a function of God’s social justice. Christian lending can indeed be an act of compassion.
Two Types of Christian Lending In the Bible
How can the Bible, on one hand, have so many negative things to say about borrowing and then, on the other hand, have anything positive to say about lending?
The reason is because of greedy lending. This is one where people take advantage of the poor (Ps 112:5), charge excessive rates (Ezk. 18:13), and take away items essential for life (Ex. 22:26). Compassionate lending is the opposite.
How Christian Lenders Can Loan As An Act Of Kindness
- The nature of the loan itself – are the terms and rates reasonable?
- The nature of the one who offers the loan – is the lender flexible, compassionate, and concerned about the needs of the borrower?
- The nature of laws – does the law give any right to the lender?
- The nature of need – is the item borrowed worth the risk of borrowing?
Therefore, in these cases I would say the borrower is not slave to the lender, but the lender is servant to the borrower. This is a rare and countercultural type of helping. This is the very type of lending that God encourages his people do. Ultimately, when the Bible speaks against lending and borrowing, it is doing so without compassion and excessive borrowing is the focus.
My Personal Example
I have one outstanding debt – a house loan.
But, I didn’t get my loan through a regular financial institution. Living overseas, I would have been looking at a 10+% loan to buy a home.
Seven families I know banded together and offered my family a loan to buy a home. I viewed and still view that loan as an act of kindness. Basically because it conforms to the conditions where lending can be kindness.
That loan is a blessing to my family.
Do you think lending can ever be a blessing? If lending can be a blessing, can there ever be a situation where you lend to someone and you do not enslave them?
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