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Monday, August 8, 2011

8/12/11 Debt as Theft- Eighth Commandment

Dt. 5:19- Do not Steal.

Dt. 24:15 You shall give him his hire on the day he earns it, before the sun goes down (for he is poor, and his heart is set upon it); les he cry to the Lord against you, and it be sin to you.

1Come now, you rich, weep and howl for your miseries that are coming upon you!
2Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are moth-eaten. 
3Your gold and silver are corroded, and their corrosion will be a witness against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have heaped up treasure in the last days.
4Indeed the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, cry out; and the cries of the reapers have reached the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth. 5You have lived on the earth in pleasure and luxury; you have fattened your hearts as in a day of slaughter.6You have condemned, you have murdered the just; he does not resist you (James 5:1-6)

(Wallstreet stock trader in dismay)

Thoughts: Debt is theft in that it is holding back what is due.  Debt opens up to theft when a bank forecloses on property without going through proper procedures (as Bank of America and some others did in 2010).  Debt becomes theft when title loan companies and check cashing companies charge 300- 800% interest, taking advantage of the poor.  Or the credit card company that raises rates and fees just because it can.  Sometimes the downgrading of one's credit score (or bond rating) when one has never missed a payment can put one in position to miss a payment, fear can make a terrible reality.  Debt becomes theft when we do not pay our employees what is owed to them for work done in good faith.  Debt becomes theft when we borrow with no intention or good faith effort at paying back our debt. 
     Dave Ramsey has some good thoughts on how to reduce our debt:

     One of the great tragedies to the world economy is the United States' debt.  The United States has a good credit rating still.  But it has a problem in that it continues to take in ($2.173 trillion in 2011) less than it spends ($3.818 trillion).  That's a deficit this year of $1.645 trillion- which with previous year's deficits adds up to $14.2 trillion. 
     In the end-- confidence and trust, courage in the face of fear, contentment and peace replacing greed- are all spiritual things.  In God we trust.  Not too long ago a person sued to get this removed from our currency and coins.  But if we do not trust in God, the motivation of restraint to greed and selfishness is weakened.  In some ways, not stealing is a matter of having peace and trust in God.  Stealing (or even going into debt) is not a matter of how much you have or don't have.  It is a matter of being content in who you are and what has been given you (and that God will provide).  Belief in God can calm our fears (hear that Wallstreet?). 

Prayer: Help us, O Lord, to put our confidence and trust in you.  You made us, Lord, help us in our hour of need.  Help us not just financially, but restore us spiritually. 

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