The Tragedy of Debt

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Over the last few weeks, I’ve been convinced that I need to take a stronger stance against debt and offer more resources for people who are in debt.  I feel like I need to point out both the seriousness and ludicrosity (yes, I made up that word) of debt.

As I’ve been working on my call for simple living and generous giving (in the form of a book called Transforming Your Financial Diet: 7 Steps to Simple Living & Generous Giving), I’ve found that time and time again debt frustrated the system I’m suggesting.  (The eBook will be released on February 21st, 2011 and it will only be on sale for 10 days.)

no debt I know there are folks who have so many positive things to say about debt and what it can offer you and extend to you.  However, debt is a robber.  It robs your freedom.  It dictates too many decisions for too many people.

Yes, of course there are reasons to take on debt.  However, sometimes we make excuses into reasons.

No, I didn’t put together this post to make those of you with debt feel bad, but to make you take a long, hard look and ask yourself some serious questions:

  • Does it ever inhibit me from doing things I feel called to do?
  • Would I be able to give more if I did not have debt?
  • Was it taken to do things for the glory of the kingdom of God?

If you are in debt, I want to encourage you to make debt repayment an important focus.

Here are a few suggested articles for those of you who are interested:

Why Getting Out of Debt is Like Running a Marathon

Debt and the Opportunity Costs of Not Paying it Off

4 Debts You Should Try to Avoid

Debt in the Bible | Is Borrowing Money a Sin?

Credit Card Debt Problem? Essential Resources to Beat Credit Card Debt

A Guide For Getting Out Of Credit Card Debt

Do those of you with debt agree or disagree with me?  Has debt brought more joy or more hardship to your life?


  1. JMD says

    We haved lived with debt and at times no debt. I should say no debt excluding a mortgage and most definitely prefer no debt. There was so much freedom and peace of mind when we had none.

    Unfortunately we have bills again that we were unable to save for in advance and now we are in the process of paying off a new roof that had to be installed in December 2010. The last two years we have had major home repairs that we were not prepared for. December 2009 was a new furnace and the two projects total a little over $11,000.00. So once again we are paying them down as fast as we can.

    • says

      Thanks for sharing your debt and no debt experience. Yes, sometimes life does get the best of us and we end up with debt again. The key to avoiding any future debt is an emergency fund.
      I like how you talked about the freedom and peace of mind without debt.

  2. says

    I am right there with you. We are currently living under the weight of huge debt that we acquired. Yes…we are the ones who made the stupid decisions that got us into this mess and no one forced us to. However, we were living WAY above our means and no one ever told us “no.” We have never been declined for credit. We have never been turned away from anything. Just offered more, more more. And looking around us, we were the norm. Not until we started looking deeper into ourselves did we figure out that we were slaves to our debt.

    We have already now reduced our debt by almost $20K and still have more to go (yes, it was that bad), but we’re living very frugally, making lots of cuts and making it happen. I hate how much we CAN’T do due to stupid decisions we made in the past regarding our debt. Now that we’re on the road to being financially free, we are more responsible and cannot wait to use our money the way we WANT to rather than how we are mandated to by our creditors! My blog is the documentation of that journey.

    • says

      Thanks for your comment.
      You recognize your debt and you’re doing something about it. That is fantastic. Keep it up. Some people don’t even see how debt is a problem.

  3. fk says


    Since your software review said YNAB did not have one-button bank downloading, is there another program that has this and is also a good budgeting program?


    PS Is there a reason why your articles and comments do not have dates and times?

  4. says

    One thing that never seems to come up in the debt discussion: how good it feels to outright own everything in your possession. It felt awesome when I finally paid off my car loan and got the title in the mail. Nobody can take that away from me.

  5. says


    I whole-heatedly agree with your stronger stance against debt and your question about not giving as much because one is in debt. I think there are many practical, logical reasons to stay away from debt. But I think the best reason is the spiritual reason. God calls us to a great purpose which includes rich nations focused on bringing God’s love and compassion to those in need. However, if we are stuck on the consumerism treadmill and paying off stuff we bought in the past, we are not free to be fully used by God to show that love and compassion to others.

    I like Plenty International’s slogan, “Because in all fairness, there is enough…when we share.” ( I think that slogan is meaningful because it relates to what God wants us to do for His children. God shared from His wealth and He expects us to share from our wealth. He did not expect us to use our wealth as a down payment to buy stuff.

    I think when we can accept that purpose and responsibility from God, we will stay away from debt, and will find contentment in serving Him and our neighbors.

    Keep up the good work,

  6. says

    Debt had me down for years too… I still worry about it… I realized for how long I spent too much, and carried too much credit card debt. I offer a few tips on my new personal finance blog as well.

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