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Articles > Financial Crisis

Using God's Wisdom
By Glen Becker
Article 3 of 3

The good news is that Americans as a whole are a forgiving people.  This is not a cultural phenomenon:  it comes directly from our Christian heritage.  Those whose misdeeds caused problems for themselves and others can now start over.  The Book of Proverbs, often called "The Book of Wisdom," provides advice on how Christians should act and react.  Responsible, godly behavior entails making behavioral changes that will help turn around the financial crisis one household at a time.

Of course, the United States Government is stepping in with massive bailouts.  Despite repeated accusations, the Federal Government is not using this crisis as an excuse to take over the economy and lead us into Socialism.  In fact, the Government does not claim that their action will correct the problem.  Their only motive is to prevent massive bankruptcies that may have brought down the entire economy.  One Congressman who voted for the bailout plan said, "I had to hold my nose when I voted for this bill, but the alternative is worse.

The various bailout plans create massive public debt.  In effect we are not solving the crisis, but merely pushing its negative consequences further into the future.  Whether this is wise or not remains to be seen.

The real solution to the crisis is a massive repentance by the American people.   The word "repent" does not mean to feel sorry for past wrongs, but rather it means to turn the other direction.  Slowly and quietly, many Americans are making changes that will ultimately correct the problem.  They are changing their spending habits, focusing on necessities instead of luxuries; they are spending less and saving more.  Labor unions are making compromises instead of screaming for strikes.  Banks are still lending, but are being more careful about it.  Our brief exposure to $4 per gallon gas shifted our car buying from ever-larger SUVs to more vehicles with good mileage.

It is clear that the way out of our troubles involves productive work, not some magic formula of borrowing and investing.  Many people whose employment depended on their customers' borrowing money are being forced to shift to jobs that do not.  Wise landlords are shifting their strategies from quick profits by flipping houses to holding property for long-term appreciation.  None of these things will quickly increase employment or cause housing prices to rebound.  But they will lay the foundation for a solid, sustainable recovery.

In the meantime, Christians must apply the Principles of Wisdom written in Proverbs and lay hold of God's promise, "I have never seen the righteous forsaken, or their children begging bread.  They are always generous and lend freely."  (Psalm 37:25, 26).  Many people will need divine bailouts to make it through layoffs and uncertainty, but God doesn't mind.  Scripture uses the term kinsman-redeemer, (see Ruth Chapter 3), to describe the kind, generous relative who bails us out of the messes we get ourselves into.  Jesus is the ultimate kinsman-redeemer because He is the brother to all who believe.  It helps to have close relatives in high places.

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