DEAR BILLY GRAHAM: I just added up all the credit card slips from our Christmas spending, and I’m really depressed. It’s going to take all year to pay them off. I don’t know why I’m writing, but how did we get in this mess? God must be very disappointed in us. — F.J.
DEAR F.J.: I suspect many feel the same way you do this time of year; it’s far too easy today to spend more than we meant to spend around Christmas, without even realizing it.
But debt can be like a heavy chain wrapping itself around us, burdening us and taking away our freedom. Instead of enjoying the good things God has for us, we end up thinking all the time about our need for money to pay our debts.
Tragically, it also can lead to conflict in our families and even divorce. No wonder the Bible commands us not to take on debt we really can’t afford. The Bible warns, “The borrower is slave to the lender” (Proverbs 22:7).
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What should you do? First, take practical steps to pay off your debts, and the sooner the better, since interest rates on credit cards can skyrocket out of control. Make a realistic budget that not only limits your spending but includes repaying the money you owe, and then stick to it.
It might even be a good idea to lock up your credit cards and use them only in emergencies.
But the most important thing you can do is to ask God to teach you his lessons through this experience. Why did you overspend? Were you trying to impress people by having the latest technology or giving lavish gifts? Whatever the reasons, learn from this experience, and then ask Christ to take control of your money — and your life.
Write “My Answer,” Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, 1 Billy Graham Parkway, Charlotte, N.C., 28201; or go to BillyGraham.org.
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