by Randy Alcorn
There are many possible motives for lending money. One is to meet another person's need; another is to profit from the loan by charging interest. Nothing is inherently wrong with lending. It's a mark of God's blessing to be in the position to make a loan (Deut. 28:12). The righteous is one who gives and lends (Ps. 37:21, 26). God approves of the generous person who lends freely (Ps. 112:5).
In certain cases, lenders graciously forgave debt (Matt. 18:32-33). In Israel, every fifty years was the year of Jubilee, in which all debts were forgiven (Deut. 15:1-3; Neh. 10:31).
Jesus stated that when we lend we're not to expect repayment (Luke 6:34-35). The borrower is morally obligated to make the payment (Ps. 37:21). But we, in the spirit of giving, are to lend as we might give, expecting nothing in return. If we would force repayment, we shouldn't loan in the first place.
Built into the disciples' prayer is the well-known but seldom practiced phrase, "Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors" (Matt 6:12).
The lender must evaluate the character of the borrower. To distribute money into the hands of a drug addict, compulsive gambler or cultist is irresponsible. Furthermore, we should weigh whether a loan is what this person really needs. Given the many dangers of debt, are we really helping him by indebting him to us? Loaning money to bail out someone lacking financial discipline is like trying to put out a fire with gasoline.
Calculate the effects of the loan on relationships. While we may imagine lending money will endear people to us, experience often proves the opposite. One of the best definitions of a distant friend is "a close friend who owes you money." If someone irritates you and you wish never to see him again, give him a loan!
by Randy Alcorn, Eternal Perspective Ministries, 2229 E. Burnside #23, Gresham, OR 97030, 503-663-6481, www.epm.org
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