We all may know a young person who took advantage of the student loan option more for the cash infusion than to truly aid in obtaining an education.
Still, I’m confident the majority of people with student loans used them for the right reason, even if they didn’t understand what the future obligation would look like.
As the debate over a potential option for forgiveness of a portion of some student loan debt dominates headlines, I’m intrigued by the multiple layers that must be peeled back to grasp the full picture of cause and effect.
Also intriguing is the proposed IRS plan to forgive $1.2 billion in fees connected to those filing their taxes late during the pandemic factor into debt forgiveness. Media reports indicate nearly 1.6 million taxpayers will receive those refunds or credits in the coming weeks.
Social media posts and coffee shop conversations nationwide prove Americans have strong opinions on the debt forgiveness debate, and Alabama Baptists fall on both sides of the argument.
As I’ve been reading, listening and researching the topic, I’ve wondered how the Bible would inform us as to how to approach the complexity of all that is in front of us. And once one thread is pulled, what does that mean going forward?
In an Aug. 25 Religion News Service article, Hebrew Bible professor and former financial analyst Roger S. Nam reminds his readers college student loans didn’t exist in ancient Israel.
“The economic worlds of the Bible are foreign to our modern sensibilities,” he stated. “For most of biblical history, money had not yet been invented. Economic decisions on issues like vocation, housing and marriage were largely predetermined according to kinship needs. A household’s greatest asset was a modest plot of land. Agriculture dominated economic production.
“Bible verses in regard to loan forgiveness must be interpreted in this context,” he continued. “Biblical texts should not be proof-texted to support contrary opinions on this student debt relief proposal.
“We should not treat the Bible like an enormously thick reference textbook, looking for the singular verse to weaponize against ideological opponents,” Nam noted. “Taking one single verse to support or protest any modern legislation violates the very character of the Bible.”
So, no specific passage is available to tell us exactly how to respond, but it is a good reminder to look for biblical values to inform our perspectives overall.
I don’t have an answer for the current debate, but I’m always drawn to the parable of the unmerciful servant in Matthew 18:21–35 when the topic of debt forgiveness surfaces.
For those of us who have had a debt of any kind forgiven in our past, I pray we are able to pay it forward to others when the appropriate opportunity arises.
And for those who have accepted the free gift of salvation by grace through faith in Christ alone know, we know none of us actually deserves forgiveness of any kind, but praise God for His unconditional and unending love.
The Cross provides our ultimate debt forgiveness.
It really is a lot to absorb at one time…
The Aug. 17 headline in the Houston Chronicle caught my attention — “‘Just too much at one time’” — not so much for the topic of the article but because the sentiment seems to ring true for so many.
We all know someone truly overwhelmed with life right now, and in some moments we may be the ones on the list.
As we all work to sort through so many difficult news reports compounding on top of each other as well as other issues weighing heavily on us, let’s also try to avoid adding negative stress to
others along the way.
Fear, frustration, anger and disappointment easily can cause us to exacerbate an already difficult situation, but adding emotional, physical and spiritual exhaustion to the mix could turn it volatile.
We need each other to be our best, and the world needs us at our best. We have the only answer for the darkness — the good news of Jesus Christ — and if we are imploding then we are missing opportunities to shine His light.
Will we ever truly get to relax and coast through this life again? Not likely, but we can find our way through it and share Jesus with the world as we do.
To get started:
- Remove unnecessary pressures you’ve placed on yourself and/or others. Those can wait.
- Seek fully the face of Christ.
- Evaluate your sleep, exercise and eating patterns.
- Monitor your intake of national and political news.
- Make a list of everything bothering you and tackle one item at a time.