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Debt and Taxes FOUNDATION #5

MoneyWise

Christian talk radio with Rob West

July 11, 2022

Today on MoneyWise, we’re talking about one of the five main ways we all interact with money: owing money and how to think about it from a biblical perspective. As we have discussed in the past, there are five basic ways that all of us interact with money: 1. Earn it 2. Live on it 3. Give it away 4. Owe it 5. Invest it Today, we’re focusing on owing. We can owe money back that we have borrowed such as a mortgage, car loan, or school loan. Credit cards could fall into this category too if you carry a balance from month to month. But even if you don’t have any loans or credit card debt, there is another way we owe: taxes. That would include income and property taxes, and any other type of tax where you have an amount you have to pay by a specific deadline. Let’s talk first about loans. Scripture is clear that if we borrow money, we must repay it and do so in a timely fashion. Psalm 37 has lots of counsel related to living a godly life. It contrasts the ways of the wicked with the ways of the righteous. One of the things it says in describing the wicked is that they borrow money and don’t pay it back. Now, I understand that sometimes extenuating circumstances perhaps related to bad health or a job loss or some other problem may prevent you from paying what you owe. But what the Scripture is describing here is someone who purposely doesn’t pay, not someone struggling to pay. Borrowing money involves making a promise to pay it back under the conditions outlined in the borrowing agreement. So repaying money is simply keeping a promise. And the Lord wants us to be people who keep promises. Now, some people have argued that Christians should never borrow and they typically point to Romans 13: 8, which says, Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. Well, I am certainly not opposed to not owing anything. But I think, in context, Paul is talking there about interpersonal relationships, not about financial management. That said, the clear counsel of Scripture is that debt can be dangerous, and it is wise to avoid it as much as possible. Proverbs 22: 7 notes that the borrower is the slave of the lender. That’s rather striking language, and it describes something that anyone who owes money can affirm! The borrower is in a position of servitude to the lender until that debt is paid. Millions of people carrying school loans know this all too well. They struggle to get ahead because the lender is always there wanting that school loan payment month after month, year after year. Our counsel based on both Scripture and practical experience it’s best to avoid debt as much as possible. But if you do have debts, your moral obligation is to pay them on time. Now, let me talk briefly about owing taxes. This, too, is a moral obligation. Scripture is quite clear about this. In Romans, Paul refers to government officials as ministers of God who help maintain public order. And he says this is why we pay taxes. He writes, Pay your taxes and government fees to those who collect them. Of course, you and I know that government is often inefficient and full of waste! But that doesn’t absolve us of our responsibility, before God, to pay what we owe. To be sure, tax law can be confusing. And if you can’t understand it, as it applies to your situation, it may be wise to hire someone who can understand it so that you can be sure you’re meeting the requirements of the law, and doing so with complete honesty. Now, you can and should take advantage of tax provisions that allow you to reduce your tax liability. There is nothing wrong with taking a legitimate deduction, credit, or write-off. But never cheat on your taxes. That is not only illegal, it is also displeasing to God. So, in summary: keep your debt at a minimum, pay any debt you have in a timely fashion, and when it comes to taxes, pay them without rancor and with an honest heart. On today’s program, Rob also answers listener questions: ● How can you get ahead to purchase a car and house when there seems to be no financial monthly surplus? ● What should you do with investments if you’re fearful of the near future of the stock market? RESOURCES MENTIONED: ● Find a Certified Kingdom Advisor

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