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Answers to your questions about life, religion and the Bible

Pastors get some of the most interesting questions from people they meet and people in their congregations.  Here are a few that I have gotten during my years of ministry and via email for this column.

 Dear Father Paul:  A friend tells me that God says that it is wrong to borrow.  He quoted a verse … ”Neither a borrower nor a lender be,” but couldn’t tell me where this is in the Bible.  What does God think about borrowing?  What does the Bible say? —  L.K.

 Dear L.K.:  The “verse” your friend quoted to you is not in the Bible.

 The “Bible verse”  is actually from Shakespeare’s play, Hamlet, the soliloquy by Polonius in Act 1, Scene 3.  But don’t get mad at your friend.  He means well, and has your best interests at heart, because borrowing can indeed become a trap or a snare for the unwary.  Dare I mention the millions of people who borrowed excessively and unwisely prior to the “Great Recession” of the past few years.  Many of these people have lost homes, cars and other valuables because of their unwise borrowing.

 Actually, the Bible (God) does not anywhere specifically prohibit borrowing. But in a number of places in the Bible God does warn us to “be careful” about borrowing. Perhaps the best verse in the Bible on that score is found in Proverbs 22:7.  Written by Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, the verse says this: ”Just as the rich rule over the poor, so the borrower is servant to the lender.” (New Living Bible Translation). Some translations say “is a slave to the lender.”

 So, again, while the Bible does not specifically forbid borrowing, it warns us that when we choose to borrow, we are willingly putting ourselves into a type of bondage which exists until the loan is paid off in full.  In other places the Bible warns lenders about charging excessive interest.

 Many of us who borrow, especially those of us who borrow unwisely and excessively, suffer from a serious character defect, that is, we are unable to delay our own self  gratification.  We “want what we want, and we must have it now ... not later.”  Studies show that nearly half of all people suffer from this inability to wait patiently for what they want. This attitude, and the unwise borrowing that it often leads to, very, very often results in serious pain and trouble when payment becomes due and we find we are “short.”  As a loving heavenly Father, God knows this. He doesn’t want to cramp our fun. He just wants to keep us from pain and getting hurt, so he warns us against unwise borrowing.  Therefore be wise in borrowing, not foolish.

Dear Father Paul:  What do you think about the recent outcome on the “fiscal cliff” issue? — Bill.

 Dear Bill:  In my view, the biggest “cliff” America faces now and going forward is a total “crisis in leadership” in Washington. Simply put, we keep electing dwarfs instead of giants and, until that changes, America faces a dark and uncertain future.  It is a total mystery to me that we keep electing these buffoons when Congress’s approval rating is 11 percent.

 Officials from both parties are idealogs … more interested in the next election than the next generation, and I seriously fear for my children and grandchildren’s future. Today we have few, if any, “real statesmen” left in office … especially in Washington. At least 90 percent of our “leaders” find it impossible to say “yes … sorry” to serious spending cuts which every single one of them knows with absolute certainty must take place if America is to avoid becoming another Greece or Spain.

 So what can we do?

 Here’s what I am doing.  Get angry enough to throw all the bums out!  Seriously.  Let’s elect a totally new House of Representatives every two years and one-third of a new Senate every two years until both Houses get their acts together. For the past three congressional elections, I have voted for the challenger instead of the incumbent, regardless of party.  And I will continue to do exactly that. Tens of thousands of Americans are coming to the same conclusion.  They are realizing the truism that indeed…”there isn’t a dime’s worth of difference” (deep down) in the two political parties and neither of the parties deserve our loyalty or blind support.  I have reluctantly come to the view that the only solution for “leaders” who won’t lead is to elect new leaders who will. Congress will never enact the term limits that would go a long way toward solving our problems,  so I for one am going to help do it for them.

 Do you have a question?  Email it to me at Paulmassey@earthlink.net and I will try to answer your question in the paper.

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Father Paul Massey is pastor of Church of the Holy Cross Charismatic Episcopal Church in Fayetteville, Georgia …”The Ancient New Testament Church, For Today’s Generation.”  More information, service times, directions and downloads of Father Paul’s Sunday messages are available at www.holycrosschurch.wordpress.com Why not worship with us this coming Sunday?

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