A person calculating his money. (Photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels)Managing debt can pose significant challenges, often leading to persistent stress and worry, particularly for those who follow the Christian faith, who may also question God’s perspective on their financial struggles.
The Bible does talk a lot about money and how we should handle it. So, what’s the right way for Christians to deal with debt? It’s not just about saving money or cutting back on spending. It’s also about living in a way that shows what you believe.
In this blog, we will look at some easy steps and helpful ideas from the Bible to help you manage your debt. We want to make this challenging subject a bit easier for you, all while keeping your faith in mind.
What does the Bible say about Debt?
A dollar banknotes. (Photo by Matthias Groeneveld from Pexels)The Bible offers various perspectives on debt that can serve as valuable guidelines for Christians grappling with financial obligations. While it doesn’t explicitly condemn borrowing or lending, it does caution against the pitfalls of being in debt.
The implication here is that debt can be a form of bondage, limiting one’s freedom and potentially straining relationships with others and God.
At the same time, the Bible urges compassion and fairness in financial dealings. Lenders are advised not to charge excessive interest, a concept rooted in Old Testament laws.
The Year of Jubilee, described in Leviticus 25, mandated the forgiveness of debts every 50 years to level the economic playing field. On the debtor’s side, the Bible promotes responsible behavior, emphasizing the importance of integrity and timely repayment.
So, while the Bible allows borrowing, it does advocate for financial wisdom, ethical conduct, and a spirit of generosity in both borrowing and lending.
How Christians should deal with debt
A couple talking about their bills. (Photo by Mikhail Nilov from Pexels)So, how should a Christian handle debt? The answer is not just about budgeting or cutting costs. It also involves living your life in a way that reflects your beliefs.
Let’s dive into practical steps and spiritual advice to help you balance managing debt and staying true to your faith.
1. Create a budget
Building a budget is a cornerstone for managing finances responsibly. Knowing exactly where your money is going each month sets the groundwork for financial freedom. This practical tool allows you to allocate a portion of your income specifically for debt repayment. The Bible encourages good stewardship, as seen in the parable of the talents (Matthew 25:14-30), making budgeting a way to honor God with your resources.
Having a budget also helps you avoid unnecessary spending, preventing more debt. It gives you a sense of control and direction, making financial challenges more manageable. When you allocate your resources well, you manage debt effectively and open up opportunities for generosity—a critical Christian principle.
2. Eliminate high-interest debt first
High-interest debts can snowball quickly, becoming a massive burden that’s hard to eliminate. By focusing on these debts first, you minimize the amount of interest you’ll end up paying. This strategy aligns with Proverbs 21:5, which tells us that careful planning leads to profit.
After you’ve cleared high-interest debts, move on to debts with lower interest rates. This strategy, known as the “debt avalanche,” is an efficient way to eliminate debts while minimizing interest payments. It’s a practical step toward achieving the freedom that allows you to serve both God and your community better.
3. Establish an emergency fund
Life is unpredictable, and unexpected expenses can throw you off course. An emergency fund acts as a financial buffer, preventing you from accumulating more debt. This practice echoes the wisdom found in Proverbs 6:6-8, which encourages us to save for the future, much like ants storing up food.
Even a small emergency fund can be remarkably helpful when unforeseen expenses arise. Start by saving a small amount regularly, and aim to have at least three months’ living expenses. This safety net can help you focus on debt repayment without the stress of potential emergencies.
4. Tithe wisely
Tithing is essential to the Christian faith, embodying our gratitude and trust in God’s provision. However, if you’re buried in debt, tithing at your usual rate may be a strain. Consider talking to your church leaders about your situation; they may advise a temporary reduction in tithing until you’re more financially stable.
Remember, the purpose of tithing is not to cause you stress but to help you grow in faith and reliance on God. Your relationship with God doesn’t solely depend on the amount you give but also on your heart’s intent (2 Corinthians 9:7).
5. Seek professional help
There’s no shame in asking for help when dealing with financial difficulties. Many people, including Christians, consult financial advisors or credit counselors for expert guidance. The Bible encourages seeking wise counsel, as Proverbs 15:22 states, “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.”
Some churches offer financial counseling or workshops that cover budgeting, saving, and debt management from a Christian perspective. These resources can provide practical skills and spiritual encouragement to help you tackle debt issues.
A man showing an Envelope. (Photo by RDNE Stock project from Pexels)6. Avoid accumulating more debt
Once you’ve developed a strategy for paying off existing debts, the last thing you want to do is accumulate more. Cut or stow your credit cards away, and commit to living within your means. Proverbs 22:7 warns that “the borrower is a slave to the lender,” highlighting the risks of falling further into debt.
Living within your means may require sacrifices, like eating out less or postponing vacations. However, these short-term sacrifices can result in long-term freedom. You’ll find it easier to serve God and others when you’re not constantly stressed about mounting debts.
7. Work extra
Finding additional sources of income can significantly accelerate your debt repayment plan. Extra income can make a huge difference, whether it’s freelancing, part-time work, or even a yard sale. The Bible applauds hard work and diligence, as seen in Proverbs 14:23, “All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty.”
Not only can extra income help you clear debt faster, but it also offers a sense of accomplishment and empowerment. Being proactive in generating income shows self-responsibility and a commitment to improving your situation, aligning with Christian values.
8. Talk to your creditors
If you’re struggling to make your payments, communication is critical. Contact your creditors to explain your situation and request a more manageable payment plan. Ephesians 4:25 encourages us to “put off falsehood and speak truthfully,” which includes being honest about our financial difficulties.
Many creditors are willing to negotiate terms, offering lower interest rates or deferred payments. It makes your debt more manageable and demonstrates a commitment to repaying what you owe, an action consistent with Christian values.
9. Pray for wisdom and strength
Never underestimate the power of prayer in any situation, including financial challenges. James 1:5 tells us that if we lack wisdom, we should ask God, who gives generously. Pray for the discernment to make wise financial decisions and the strength to follow through with your plans.
Prayer can also provide emotional relief, reminding you that you’re not alone in your struggles. Trusting God to guide you through financial challenges can deepen your faith and alleviate debt-related stress.
10. Share and learn from others
Whether joining a church-based financial accountability group or sharing experiences with trusted friends, community support can be invaluable. Proverbs 11:14 states that “in the multitude of counselors there is safety,” suggesting that collective wisdom is often better than facing challenges alone.
By being open about your journey, you also allow others to learn from your experiences. Collective learning can result in collective growth, both financially and spiritually. You might even find that others in your community are going through similar challenges, and together, you can seek solutions grounded in faith and practicality.
You can do it!
A woman feeling happy while looking at a paper. (Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels)Getting out of debt can feel challenging, but you can do it. You can make it happen Using intelligent money tips and the lessons we learn from the Bible.
When you’re smart with your money and keep your faith strong, you can break free from debt and feel closer to God. This journey isn’t solely about finances; it’s also a path to strengthening your faith. As you strive to settle your debts, you’re simultaneously deepening your trust in God. It’s a win-win.
Republished with permission from Blogs.crossmap.com, featuring inspiring Bible verses about How Christians should deal with debt.