I’m sure you have heard the illustration of “climbing” the ladder of success . . . and then the subsequent thought that the ladder might be leaning against the wrong wall.
During these challenging economic times, many have not only found that their ladder was leaning against the wrong wall . . . but in fact the wall is crumbling. Continue with Part 2 of “Is Your Wall Crumbling?”
Pay what you owe. Romans 13:7 and 8 instructs us to pay what we owe, whether it be taxes, tolls, respect or honor . . . pay it. The psalmist reminds us, “The wicked borrow and do not repay, but the righteous give generously”. (Psalm 37:21) Matt 18 instructs us that those who petition lenders, asking for patience and mercy, with the promise that debt will be repaid may receive a forgiveness . . . but the primary lesson is to always have a heart of forgiveness because we have been forgiven an eternal debt that could never be repaid. Make every effort to pay what you owe.
Be intentional in your communication. I know several people who would rather “flee” the conflict, instead of “facing” the conflict. When faced with debts or monies owed, it is always better to initiate the conversation as opposed to waiting for someone to contact you. It’s not going to go away. Here are some helpful hints: a) be truthful, b) apologize, ask forgiveness and be gracious, c) listen, d) have a plan before you make the contact, e) do not get defensive, and f) be appreciative.
Three R’s – Recover, Repair and Rebuild. Okay, here are three keys to getting back on track. It’s very possible that if you are in this type of situation, you really didn’t count the full cost of building, borrowing, or even busting. Now, it’s time to count the cost. (Luke 14:28) Recover: take time to communicate, develop a plan and place yourself in a situation where all of your “extras” have been sold or liquidated to relief debt. You may need to sell a new car and drive an older car . . . you may need to sell your home (or vacation home) to maximize your equity and pay off debt. Repair: work your plan, stick to your plan, and watch your plan work. Rebuild: now it’s time to cut the cost and begin to wisely rebuild your life. If you never get into this type of situation, you never have to get out.
Have hope. One of the greatest challenges is not losing hope. You may have spent years growing a business, building a portfolio, or saving and investing . . . and then see it all vanish due to a slowed economy or failed business. Let me remind you that God’s economy is so vastly different than our economy. Our citizenship is in Heaven and our inheritance is guaranteed by the work of the Holy Spirit. John reminds us in his first epistle “everyone who has this hope in Him, purifies himself even as He is pure.” (I John 3:1) He does not change. His care for you is not based on your financial statement. His love for you is not measured by your performance. Our hope is in Him. He is God and God, alone.
You are not a failure. This is the most difficult area to address. You may have worked for years . . . or your may have written and executed your own business plan. You may have been a strong contributor to charities or your church. You may have provided for your family’s needs and wants. Now, that time is over. What you deemed in the past as great success is now no more. In your mind and heart, you have failed. Let me remind you. In God’s eyes, you are not a failure. Too often we equate financial success as sign of God’s blessing and financial failure as a sign of God’s punishment. That is not Biblical teaching and truth! The enemy is one who is a deceiver, a thief, a liar, a destroyer and a murderer. (John 10:10) He will tell you anything to discourage and dissuade you. As you rebuild, remember that you are not a failure . . . you are a redeemed child of God who’s success has been guaranteed by the work of His Son. Success comes by obedience, submission, dependence and humility before your God.
At the end of the day . . . and at the end of your life, what would like others to say about you. Here’s God’s desire, “He’s made it plain how to live, what to do, what God is looking for. It’s quite simple: Do what is fair and just to your neighbor, be compassionate and loyal in your love, and don’t take yourself too seriously . . . take God seriously. (Micah 6:8)
Bless you as you recover, repair and rebuild.