I will admit that I know very little about national and international economics. When I turn on business TV or radio and listen for even a few moments, it’s as if a foreign language is being spoken. It’s a subject that is fascinating to me, but one that I cannot fully wrap my mind around.
People – including Christians – may never fully understand the ins and outs of the economy, but there are still some moral issues that must be considered when we think about the economy. In other words, it is a subject that Christians should have an interest in, because there is a moral basis behind the issues.
Here are some reasons why that is the case . . . .
The Principle of Honesty
In our personal lives, we sign our name for many things. That includes many financial transactions. The most obvious of these is when we agree to pay a debt. We might sign our name on a mortgage or to student loans. By signing the documents, we are making a clear moral statement that we will pay the debt and follow the terms of the agreement.
National economies are run the same way. When a government (at any level) agrees to take on debt, it is, in effect, “signing its name” to pay. Christians should be concerned with governmental debts that are run up by cities, states, and nations, because the government is making a statement that it will repay. If the leaders of any economy do not really intend to pay–or if they are not really agreeing to the terms of the contract–they are being dishonest.
We must be clear about this, though: Just because a debt is staggeringly large does not necessarily imply that the leaders are being dishonest about repayment. I firmly believe that they, like many people in their personal lives, are not really looking at what it will take to repay the debt. They want to, but have not faced reality. They are not intentionally being dihonest.
The Principle of Leaving a Legacy
Christians desire to leave a legacy to their families. The most important legacy is that of character and faith, but there is a financial legacy we would like to leave, if possible, as well. Sometimes circumstances like health failures cause this legacy–usually an inheritance–to shrink, but we have that desire.
This is a moral issue, because we are training our children and grandchildren by our actions. We are teaching responsibility. While we may not leave millions of dollars, our desire is to show God’s ways of handling money and pass that along.
A government that is seeking God’s will should desire the same. The economy should reflect the attitude of leaving for future generations a legacy of stability and character as it pertains to finances. God is always looking to the future and to blessings that are there with wise decisions. Those in positions of leadership would do well to spend some time considering what we are going to leave our children by the decisions we make. Instead of making panic moves that add burdensome debt, we must be willing to sacrifice.
The Borrower is Slave to the Lender – Proverbs 22:7
This verse has to be included in this discussion! “The borrower is slave to the lender” is not just true in personal lives, it is true on every level. A government (again, at any level) that takes on debt is showing that it does not really believe this principle from the pages of the Bible. If anyone, whether an individual or a government, does not trust this proverb from the Lord, what else will be not trusted?
The mounting debt of our economy in the United States is proof that we are enslaved. We need to “owe no man anything!” Christians should not be wrathful about debt, but should see it as a sign that we (as a whole) trust money and credit ratings more than the principles of God’s Word.
In conclusion, Christians should–no matter their party or leanings–see the bigger economic picture as a moral issue. A person who follows God’s principles of handling money will be blessed. That is also true for any government, and it is past time for many governments to learn that lesson.
What other moral issues are part of the foundation of an economy? What are your thoughts on these issues?