Neither a Borrower nor a Lender Be?

Borrowing and Lending

“LORD POLONIUS:
Neither a borrower nor a lender be;
For loan oft loses both itself and friend, And borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry.” Hamlet Wm Shakespeare, 1602

Shakespeare makes the point in this famous Polonius quote that lending money can be too big a strain on a relationship. The biblical view on lending is more straightforward – if you can afford to lend you can almost certainly afford to give away instead.

Shakespeare’s other point is also important “..borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry”. In other words you shouldn’t try to borrow out of a tight financial situation but rather trade, or work, your way out.

The Bible says:

who lends money to the poor without interest; who does not accept a bribe against the innocent. Whoever does these things will never be shaken.
Psalm 15:4-5

They are always generous and lend freely; their children will be a blessing.
Psalm 37:25-27

And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full.
Luke 6:33-35

But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.
Luke 6:34-36

The Godly Approach to Lending

How much time and money would we save without borrowing and lending? We would not have an international financial crisis without borrowing and lending. Would most people still build their own homes without mortgages? I think we would have evolved other, better, ways of affording houses and land. Would we have to live longer with our parents? Maybe. Would that be a bad thing? Probably not, especially while our children were young. How much better to have extended family?

How many lives would have been lived longer and with better quality without debt worries causing stress related illnesses and suicides?

We falsely believe we need loads of materials goods, bigger homes and newer, more impressive cars, so we borrow to finance them. Just who are we trying to impress? Strangers on the highway? Our colleagues? People who won’t even remember our names 5 years after our retirement. Surely our family don’t need us to buy their affections. If they do, there is a whole other issue that needs looking at.

How much of our hard-earned money do we give away in interest every month to irresponsible bankers who make bad decisions but still have enormous bonuses and actually produce what?

How much better to live within our means, even if it means not having the newest, shiniest temptation gadget on the market this season. How much better to sleep soundly every night? How much better to feel able to answer the phone knowing it won’t be anyone chasing repayment of some debt for some “treasure” long forgotten about.

At one time the Western nations managed their money biblically – saving and then consuming. In the meantime we actually cooked our food instead of defrosting and microwaving it. Home made jam to use up the produce in the garden and greenhouse. Fishing to actually catch fish to eat. White washing a fence, mending. Making soup.

We miss out on so many of these simple joys because we work so many hours to pay our interest bearing debts that we sell our quality time, our family time very cheaply.

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  1. #1 by Mel Frame on September 9, 2011 - 6:30 pm

    WordPress.com!

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