Why do people, including you, borrow stuff? We don’t have something we could use to achieve or accomplish a task or meet another need. In a sense, our Savior has provided that resource to another so that our solution is discovered in the context of a relationship. How like Him. But then there’s money. It’s one thing to lend stuff, but another to lend money. Not that you’re more likely to give back the stuff than the money.
“If you lend money to My people, to the poor among you, you are not to act as a creditor to him; you shall not charge him interest. If you ever take your neighbor’s cloak as a pledge, you are to return it to him before the sun sets, for that is his only covering; it is his cloak for his body. What else shall he sleep in? And it shall come about that when he cries out to Me, I will hear him, for I am gracious.Exodus 22:25-27 NASB
We reviewed borrowing stuff, and protecting it, back in verses 14 and 15. This is different, this a “loan” to the poor. In such a circumstance, from this “law”, you’re not getting it back, just so you know. Jesus reinforced this in Luke 6:34, where he says we’re not supposed to expect anything back when we lend. Any why should we?
I used to work for Countrywide Home Loans, and we made loans all day long. But we wanted the money back, with interest, well sort of. We wanted the interest from the person we lent the principle to. We wanted the principle from whoever we sold the loan to, and, then we wanted a fee from whoever we sold it to for collecting on their behalf. Such an industry is antithetical to the character of our Creator, as He reveals Himself through Scripture. But Americans consider it a good gig, if you can get it.
Why would we expect someone who can’t afford a meal to afford to pay back what we lend them for the meal? Did the meal also provide silver? Perhaps the silver lent was put to work and gained two, five, or ten more? Not likely. The cloak taken in pledge means that cloak was all they had. The implication being that everything else had already been sold off, and they were down to that.
What we are supposed to be learning from our Creator is that when He has given resources to one person, it’s never just for that person. Our Creator expects that His provision will function for all within the context of relationship.
How’s that for a view of our Creator through a fence?
Scripture quotations taken from the NASB. Copyright by The Lockman Foundation
“Such an industry is antithetical to the character of our Creator, as He reveals Himself through Scripture.”
i wonder if we apply blanket labels to nuanced verses. We have had many such loans as you describe. Not because we are “poor” by my definition (or anyone else’s I suspect) , but because it was easier to borrow and have “it” now than it was to save for “it” first. Under those circumstances why should I get a freebie x 2? 🙂
And there’s the huge difference, Paul. In our day we “leverage debt”, so that we can avoid waiting. It a mindset characteristic of a wealthy society where it’s an option for wealthy. But, while you may not have been one of the needy to whom the mortgage industry made a loan, I have personal knowledge of others who were. They had no business getting a loan, but did.
The credit card industry is even more insidious, and there’s the “payday-loan” growth industry (shocks me it even exists) who will even loan on a car. It’s crazy, and predatory. So, it may be a blanket statement to say our society blatantly flaunts this sort of economic oppression of the poor, but it’s not wrong. I wish it were.