My child, if you co-sign a loan for a friend or guarantee the debt of someone you hardly know – if you have trapped yourself by your agreement and are caught by what you said – quick, get out of it if you possibly can! You have placed yourself at your friend’s mercy. Don’t put it off! Do it now! Don’t rest until you do. (Proverbs 6:1-4 NLT)
I don’t know if Solomon’s advice came from personal experience or whether it was given to him by the Lord, but it behooves each one of us to take heed to his wise words.
Years ago when man’s word was law, my father signed a note guaranteeing a loan for his brother. As it turned out his brother reneged on the loan and my father was stuck with the payments. The issue was further compounded when his brother refused to apologize or make it right. As a result, the relationship was broken and future trust was lost.
Solomon warns us to think twice before making such a foolhardy decision. Not all such agreements are broken, but it only takes one for us to suffer dire consequences. Financial losses due to broken promises not only sever relationships, but can severely affect the families’ stability.
Solomon is not telling us never to help a family member or friend in need, but to do it in such a way that won’t put our own family situation in jeopardy. There are other ways to come alongside another in time of need. You might help them save money for more serious needs by volunteering physical labor, material goods, professional services, or housing needs. Letting them know that “you are there for them” will provide the needed encouragement to boost their morale.
I am so grateful that God has “signed off” on my debt of sin by sending his Son, Jesus Christ to pay the penalty that I deserved. When Jesus hung on the cross, he said, “It is finished,” and my debt was stamped paid in full. No longer am I obligated for the payments! No longer do I have the sting of death hanging over my head! No longer do I have to face the judge and hear him say, “guilty!” I am reminded by the Apostle Paul in Romans 5:1 that there is “no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus.”
How is your standing before God today? Have you acknowledged your sin before God and embraced by faith the Lord Jesus as Lord and Savior?