Debtbusters

For a few weeks now I have been addressing BLING-onomic$ subjects in our Sunday gatherings. Due to time constraints I have not been able to say everything I would like on money management matters. One of the areas I wish I could have addresses more extensively is the debt issue. So here are a few of my feelings on the subject and I invite your feelings, responses and even personal stories as well.

More than ever we need to be aware of and avoid the subtlety of debt. Now don’t get me wrong. I own a credit card and use it to purchase and pay for everything I possibly can with it. But I pay the total balance off every month and I earn dividend miles for free airline tickets in the process.

I get credit card offers almost daily. At times I have received as many as ten envelopes a week in the mail from credit card companies offering me new credit cards. One offered me, because of my “good credit standing,” up to $50,000 on their card at 0% interest for the first 12 months. One card said, because of my good credit standing, they’d give me $100,000 to spend. (On a credit card!)

Would you believe that not one of these credit card company applications mentioned the word debt anywhere? In fact, some of those credit card applications said I could take balances from other credit cards and put it on theirs for an incredibly low rate and everything would be fine. I kept reading and when I got way down to the itsy-bitsy, teeny-weeny, fine print, it said as long as I follow all their rules things would be fine. And at the end of 12 months, or if I made one late payment, the rate jumped to 18% on one, 27% on another. That’s possibly the most ridiculous loan I could ever take out in my entire life.

WHAT CREDIT CARD COMPANIES DON’T WANT YOU TO KNOW

Don’t miss this. Remember the word “revolving.” The credit card companies call good credit people, in other words, people who use their credit cards regularly and only pay the monthly payment required, “revolvers.” (Sounds like something that, when loaded, can be dangerous, doesn’t it?)

Credit card companies want you, me, and everybody in the world to be a “revolver.” If they can get us to be “revolvers,” people who will just keep making the minimum payment each month and keep revolving that debt over and over again, they can make a lot of money off us. They love “revolvers.”

Guess what they call people like me who pay their credit cards off each month and never keep a balance that rolls over to the next month? This is the absolute truth. They call people like me “deadbeats.” If you pay your credit card off each month, the credit card industry considers you a deadbeat! I’d call you a genius.

Debt is subtle and those who try to encourage us to get into debt are subtle themselves and sometimes even sinister. That’s why we need to always read the fine print before we foolishly pursue debt of any amount and know God’s advice and principles when it comes to debt.

In Deuteronomy 28 we find some incredibly sound financial advice. I’ll tell you right up front that I believe without a shadow of a doubt that God wants us to be debt free. Look at these verses. Deuteronomy 28:12ff “The LORD will open the heavens, the storehouse of his bounty’ to send rain on your land in season and to bless all the work of your hands. You will lend to many nations but will borrow from none.”

Now God doesn’t say borrowing is wrong. Don’t read that into the verse; nowhere does it say borrowing is wrong. But He says, “You’re going to live in such a way (God’s people) that you’ll lend to other nations and you’ll borrow from no one.” That’s His plan.

The next verse says, “The LORD will make you the head and not the tail. If you pay attention to the commands of the LORD your God that I give you this day and carefully follow them, you will always be at the top, never at the bottom. Do not turn aside from any of the commands I give you today. ”

It’s very clear. God does not want His people to be in debt. He wants us to be “lenders” instead of “borrowers.” Yet the majority of Christ followers are seriously and severely in debt.

God said, “I want you to be free so you can lend to many and borrow from none.” That makes you the head, the one in control of the circumstance, instead of the tail, tossed around by whatever the one in control desires. Are you with me?

Debt enslaves. Debt takes away our freedoms. I want to invite you to deal with this bondage of debt issue. I would like for you to get to the point where the word “debt” make you sick in your stomach. I wish we could all get to where whenever we hear someone talk about debt or we see the word we just say to ourselves, “I hate debt.” I wish it were something we ran from like the plague.

So, now that you know how I feel about debt, how do you feel about it? What are your insights and stories?

If you would like more information about getting out of debt email me at steve@relaxedchurch.com and I will send it to you.

Down with debt and up with financial freedom.

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2 thoughts on “Debtbusters

  1. Steve,

    Very interesting view. I agree that high debt does enslave you. Unfortunately, that only way to financial freedom is thru education. That will never change!

  2. There are some good books out there too to educate any of us on this topic. David Ramsey has some good books, and I know there are some classes offered around the area not just based on his stuff, but on other materials.

    We used Dave Ramsey’s concepts (which dovetail into these concepts) to get out of debt –> I’ll try to summarize it as best I can….

    Pay off the smallest debt/loan and pay as little as possible on the rest. When you pay off that debt/loan, take that monthly payment and add it to whatever you have available to pay toward the now smallest debt/loan. It’s really important to not continue spending like how you got into this debt “hole” – and to use whatever savings you have to get out of debt (we struggled with that but in the end did it). One last thing – since you’re wiping out your savings, hold onto $1000 as an emergency in case something comes up; I think maybe $1500 actually makes more sense.

    After getting completely out of debt, the concept Dave Ramsey had was to save a few months of income, then start investing along with giving. We’re about to begin this stage…

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