Thank God for Credit Cards!
“Thank God for Credit Cards!” where the words spoken my our neighbor and minister’s wife while talking one evening at our local Toys-R-Us. We had taken the kids over to Toys-R-Us to help them come up with their Christmas list. While browsing through the store, we heard a friend shout “Hey!” (southern speak for Hello) and looked around to find our neighbor also in the store doing the same thing. The conversation focused around Christmas and the amount of gifts we where buying this year and how much they would cost. I mentioned we were much better off this year as we had been saving gradually for Christmas throughout the year. She looked at us, laughed and said “Thank God for Credit Cards!”.
I was floored and a little disappointed. To think this is one thing, but to verbalize it was another. I was honestly shocked to hear this statement come from the wife of minister. After further thought and discussion with my wife, it did make me realize how confused society is about what the Christian Bible says about debt and how much people think that credit cards and in particular debt is a normal part of life. Credit cards aren’t mentioned in the Bible, for good reason: they didn’t exist. In general though, many scriptures advises that debt should be avoided, but it isn’t a sin. Many scriptures also show that the way to wealth is through saving and living on less not through the use of debt.
Here are 5 biblical reasons why thanking God for credit cards makes no sense what-so-ever:
1 – God doesn’t want you to be a slave
Proverbs 22:7 – “The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.”
This is probably the most frequently referenced scripture verse from the Bible but rightly so. When you borrow money you indeed become servant to the lender. When you use credit cards, the credit card company has control over you. They can bump up your interest, charge you incredibly expensive late fees, ding your credit and even sue you for failure to pay. The Bible doesn’t say debt is a sin, but it doesn’t advocate it anywhere. Debt should be used for dire emergencies only.
2 – God says we should owe no one
Romans 13:8 – “Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.”
In Romans, Paul tells us that we should owe no man nothing. Note, this doesn’t specifically say anything about money but is inclusive of money and anything else we might owe somebody. What this verse is really saying is pay back what you have agreed to pay. If you owe somebody something, give it back. This includes paying your bills and paying back your debts (with interest).
3 – God wants us to trust Him, not credit cards
Hebrews 13:5 – “Stay away from the love of money; be satisfied with what you have. For God has said, “I will never fail you. I will never forsake you.”
Proverbs 11:28 – Trust in your money and down you go!
Many people use credit cards because they don’t trust that God will provide for them. When their bank account runs low, they rush out and get a cash advance. When their car gets old, they run out and buy a new car on credit assuming the old car will die soon. Why not wait, begin saving the money and trust that God will provide for you until you can afford that new car?
Trust that God will provide you with what you need and be patient that He will do so. Doing so will strengthen the relationship you have with him and provide you with a sense of peace beyond comprehension.
4 – If you lack the means to pay, than don’t use them
Proverbs 22: 26-27 – “Do not be a man who strikes hands in pledge, or puts up security for debts; if you lack the means to pay, your very bed will be snatched from under you.”
Personally, we have completely removed credit cards from my life. I am just flat out disciplined enough to use them nor do I find that I actually need them. I cut mine up a year ago and haven’t needed one since. That does not mean that everyone needs to do this. Some people are very disciplined and organized and do fine using credit cards, and even earn money through rewards and points programs. The key message from God is if you can’t pay back what you buy using them, than don’t use them. It’s really that simple.
5 – A continued state of debt will keep us from being wealthy
Luke 16:11, “So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches?”
This is a pretty strong message for us from God through Luke. If we can’t manage our finances, how can we be trusted with the greater riches of life? As Proverbs 13:11 says “He who gathers money little by little makes it grow.” When you save money, even small amounts, your money will grow. Debt keeps this from happening. If you are in debt, you are just using that money to pay back your debt. The money isn’t growing. Debt is a weight that keeps you from moving as quickly as you can. If you had a 100lbs backpack on your back in a race, would you not remove it in order to run faster and win?