Summary: Is there a place where compassion can become a trap to ensnare those who are trying to show it?
Caught in the Trap of Compassion
By Pastor Jim May
Tonight I have simple, but very important message from the Word of God to every Christian. I feel that I must share a word to the wise from the wisest man who ever lived, King Solomon. It’s a message concerning debt, both financial and in the work of the ministry.
There was once a man who called the police and reported that all of his wife’s credit cards had been stolen. He gave all of the pertinent information and asked if they could possible help him to find the thief, but then he said "Don’t look too hard for the thief. He’s charging less than my wife ever did."
One fellow said that he is convinced that the only reason a great many American families don’t own an elephant to keep in their backyard for the kids to play with, is that they have never been offered an elephant for a dollar down and easy weekly payments.
In another instance, a man was giving a tour of his mansion to one of his friends and bragging about what he owned. "Dear sir, I want you to take to note of the fine furniture in this room. It is all of the most valuable antiques that we have collected over many years. Most of it goes back to the Louis the 14th, King of France." His friend looked amazed but then said, "well that’s nothing, I have a whole house full of furniture that will go back to Sears on the first of next month."
While we joke about debt loads and credit cards, the debt load has become a growing specter in our society, rising ever higher until it seems that, unless we can get a handle on it, the debt load of our nation threatens to destroy our entire economy and bring the richest nation on the face of the earth to its knees in bankruptcy.
The signs are already there. One article on Fox News last month said, “Throughout the 1960s, ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s, households showed a surplus income of varying degrees. It wasn’t until 1999 — for the first time in about 50 years — that U.S. households started spending more than they took in. What started as a small deficit of about $50 billion among households quickly spiked to a deficit of more than $350 billion in the second quarter of this year”.
The average household right now has an $84,454 debt. But that’s not all we owe. If you factor in the national debt, the average household also owes another $473,456. We are all responsible and share in that bill, and that doesn’t include anything from the recent natural disasters. At a price tag of $200 Billion, that would add an additional $803 for every man, woman and child in America. Is there any doubt in your mind that we are headed for trouble economically?
How many of you could survive right now if you had to come up with the money to pay that debt off? Where would you borrow the money to pay it? I dare say that not many of us would be able to either take the cash out of our accounts, or qualify for that kind of loan.
I believe that King Solomon has some good advice to America, and to you and I, today. If we could only hear what he has to say, and take it to heart, maybe we could begin to turn things around. But, since most people won’t hear his words, and very few will heed them, I don’t expect that miracle to happen.
Proverbs 6:1-5 says, "My son, if thou be surety for thy friend, if thou hast stricken thy hand with a stranger, Thou art snared with the words of thy mouth, thou art taken with the words of thy mouth. Do this now, my son, and deliver thyself, when thou art come into the hand of thy friend; go, humble thyself, and make sure thy friend. Give not sleep to thine eyes, nor slumber to thine eyelids. Deliver thyself as a roe from the hand of the hunter, and as a bird from the hand of the fowler."
This specific word of wisdom concerns the agreement to take on the debt of another. We don’t use the same terminology that Solomon uses, but there are a lot of people who are ensnared by the same practice that Solomon was describing. In today’s vernacular we often call it Co-signing a loan. Right now, a prime example would be, lending a helping hand.
Solomon said that if we have agreed to take on the debt of another that we should not sleep nor rest until we find a way to get out of that situation.