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Dealing with the Economic Crisis (Part 2 of 3)

Already In The Financial Storm

... In the previous article, we presented a few examples of the Bible’s financial problem prevention guidelines, but what if you are already in the middle of the storm? Is there hope? Yes, but just like going to the doctor a week after you get sick, it will be more challenging getting better than if you went the first day.

First Steps

... Naturally, as with any problem, if we hope to make it through, we must take an honest look at the situation and own up to any mistakes. If you are in denial, how can God help you? The Bible says if we admit our faults, God will forgive. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (I John 1:9) The principle is simple, admit any mistakes or wrongs, ask for forgiveness, then seek help.

... Jesus gave an example of a Bible principle to help with economic problems. He said, “Agree with your adversary quickly, while you are on the way with him, lest your adversary deliver you to the judge, the judge hand you over to the officer, and you be thrown into prison. Assuredly, I say to you, you will by no means get out of there till you have paid the last penny.” (Matthew 5:25-26). The idea is go to your creditors before they send late notices or take you to court. Explain your situation, that you have learned your lesson, and ask if they will work with you. If so, great—work out a plan and commit to fulfill it.

... If creditors won’t work with you, the only legitimate option you may have is to make large changes to your lifestyle and possessions. In such circumstances, popular culture says just declare bankruptcy and get the man off your back. Again, this is short sighted, will hurt a lot more people than just a business, and violates the commitment you made when you were first granted credit. And there’s the problem of living for years with bad credit.

Radical Steps

... If we follow the Bible’s instructions not to fall in love with things, lifestyle changes will be easier. “Do not love the world or the things in the world.”(I John 2:15a) Also, get over trying to live like the rich and famous in order to prepare for solving your money issues. “He who loves pleasure will be a poor man; He who loves wine and oil will not be rich.” (Prov 21:17)

... You may need to take radical steps to pay off debts, such as selling your possessions. (Wouldn’t it be better to sell than to have them repossessed?) If we take the attitude of Paul and learn to be content with the necessities of life, radical steps can pay off. “Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content.” (I Timothy 6:6-8) Be thankful for the basics. You don’t need cable TV, iPods, flashy cars, etc. Let them go to save your financial integrity.

... What if you’ve lost your job? In America many of us are used to good paying jobs and may be reluctant to take work without status or high salaries we are accustomed to. If you are out of work take whatever job you can get. You can always look for a better offer later; the point is to keep current on your bills. Remember, “Pride goes before destruction, And a haughty spirit before a fall.” (Prov 16:18) If anyone is too good to work, there is a Bible verse for him too, “For even when we were with you, we commanded you this: If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat.” (II Thessalonians 3:10)

... Next time we’ll look at some general Bible principles on money that individuals and businesses can use today and see a personal example. Until then, challenge yourself to start making the Bible a part of your life!

For more information on Bible principles for money management, visit www.crown.org

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