Surely as God’s people we are called to be generous and giving to help one another. However, that does not mean we are to stop being wise. We must thoughtfully consider to whom we lend money or for whom we guarantee their debt.
15He who is guarantor for a stranger will surely suffer for it,
But he who hates being a guarantor is secure.
This scripture warns about strangers. It is very likely that it is not only referring to people we never met before but also people we do not know very well. Perhaps we know their name and see them at work or in church, but we do not really know them. It seems unlikely one would need to highlight not being a guarantor for what we consider today in our culture as a total stranger… someone we never met before. Not many would ever consider this risk.
Of course the obvious risk is that we do not know them well and they may not have the character or means to pay back what they borrow. If we become guarantor for them then we are at risk to lose the money they took as we pay for their debt. Out of a good heart and desire to help, many get themselves in financial trouble.
Notice that it does not say “Do not give to a stranger”. If the sum of money is such that you would be willing to give it… go ahead, if you feel that is appropriate. You understand the financial impact with no expectation you will be paid back. This mindset helps us use wisdom. We will be less likely to extend ourselves as responsible for major expenses we really can not afford in our effort to help others.
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