Personal indebtedness, defaulted loans, the economy in a downward spiral. Do consumers borrow too much? Undoubtedly. Do banks lend too much? Equally sure. What is Congress doing? Funding recovery programs by borrowing too much from banks who lend too much.
This is the kind of madness that comes from denying the truth. Alcoholics Anonymous has it right: the definition of insanity is continuing to do the same thing and expecting different results.
Here’s what they don’t want you to know: A society built on debt cannot stand.
The prophet Moses (of Ten Commandments fame) warns of this:
“If you lend money to one of my people among you who is needy, do not be like a moneylender; charge him no interest.” (Ex. 22:25)
“Do not take a pair of millstones — not even the upper one — as security for a debt, because that would be taking a man’s livelihood as security.” (Deut 24:6)
“Do not charge your [countryman] interest, whether on money or food or anything else that may earn interest. You may charge a foreigner interest, but not a brother [countryman], so that the LORD your God may bless you…” (Deut 23:19-20)
What I find interesting is nowhere is the debtor blamed for his or her indebtedness. Scripture says there will be times when people need to borrow. It’s embarrassing and humbling to have to ask for a loan. God sympathizes with the poor, and He knows the hearts of those who take advantage. So in God’s name the prophet addresses the one making the loan and says: don’t charge interest or take unreasonable securities.
If our nation’s economy depends on charging interest of people who can’t afford to pay it (whether individuals or companies or government agencies) — if our economy is built on exploiting the misfortunes of others — we are breaking the laws of God and of human decency, as well as the laws of economics.
Such a nation will fall, most likely (judging by the lessons of history) into tyranny.
It’s time for debt forgiveness, and it’s time for our corporations and our government to get out of the business of exploiting people’s misfortunes.
(Side note: On the global level, keep a weather eye on mega-lender World Bank/International Monetary Fund, the dictionary definition of exploitation. They’re not just worrying the wild-eyed fanatics any more.)