Thursday, July 28, 2011

Whose Debt Crisis?

The current debt crisis is both political and personal. We can easily fault the US for financial irresponsibility. At first glance, the riots in Greece over austerity measures seem justified as a reaction to their government’s financial failure.

But those riots seem hypocritical when it’s revealed that a third of Greeks don’t pay their taxes! If they did, perhaps the country’s troubles would be over. In other western countries, a smaller percentage may evade taxes, but large numbers of citizens claim handouts illegally.

Then, how many of us are living beyond our means. Personal debt keeps rising, and if we think we can continue living like that without consequences, we are tacitly assuming the government can also and giving permission to do so.

Until we individuals are willing to put our own finances in order, and consider paying our dues a priority over entitlement, the crisis will rumble on, even if it doesn’t explode immediately. The Bible exhorts us to pay our taxes, and get out of debt—except the debt of love.

“This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God's servants, who give their full time to governing. Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honour, then honour. Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another,” Romans 13:6-8.

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