I believe we should try to keep all of God’s commandments, so I thought I could provide some interesting commentary on this tweet:
MAGA: Canceling student loans is immoral. This is why we need a Govt based on the Bible.
Deuteronomy 15: “At the end of every seven years you must cancel debts. This is how: Every creditor shall cancel any loan they have made.”
MAGA: Not that part of the Bible.
I agree that we should cancel loans every 7 years.
The scenario is more favorable than just that. The Bible doesn’t set a maximum of 7 years for all loans; it’s a continuous 7 year cycle. Sometimes you would be approached for a loan right before they have to be cancelled! See:
Take care lest there be an unworthy thought in your heart and you say, ‘The seventh year, the year of release is near,’ and your eye look grudgingly on your poor brother, and you give him nothing, and he cry to the Lord against you, and you be guilty of sin. (Deu 15:9, WEB translation)
It gets even better. These loans that would last from 1 to 7 years, they were also interest-free:
You may charge a foreigner interest, but you may not charge your brother interest, that the Lord your God may bless you… (Deu 23:20, WEB)
Anyone was free to become a brother, part of the nation of Israel, the people who collectively agreed to love the Lord and keep all of his commandments.
But that also means that God’s system (which includes cancelling debts every 7 years) working well depends keeping other commandments in addition to cancelling debts.
The “year of jubilee” is a big part that would minimize the burden of canceling debts. Basically you can never sell your family’s land permanently. Every 50 years, land goes back to the original owner. If you needed cash, you would “sell” your land, but you’re basically renting it out at a price that depends on how many years are left until the jubilee year. See Leviticus 25:8-22.
Since your family is guaranteed to have generationally owned land, you and your ancestors have had the means of agricultural production.
On top of that, God promises blessings that would make a society in general (even with some poor people) very prosperous, not having to live in debt:
And if you faithfully obey the voice of the Lord your God, being careful to do all his commandments that I command you today… The Lord will open to you his good treasury, the heavens, to give the rain to your land in its season and to bless all the work of your hands. And you shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow. (Deu 28:1 and 28:12)
Later on, the text mentions that being in debt can be one of many curses for disobedience, not unlike hemorrhoids (depending on how you translate Deu 28:27).
Now, my detractors would be correct in saying that we can’t reasonably do only part of these as a society. And God gave these commandments to be followed in the land of Israel. However, keeping these commandments today out of love and faith, even though that means a greater burden, I believe it will give us an even greater blessing individually, but that’s just my 2 cents.
Even though we don’t live in a fully Biblical society, that doesn’t change this:
God calls us to have an absolutely radical heart posture and willingness to help the poor in very clear terms.
You shall not harden your heart or shut your hand against your poor brother, but you shall open your hand to him and lend him sufficient for his need (Deu 15:7-8 WEB)
Even for the majority of Christians who teach that we don’t have to keep God’s commandments from the Old Testament, this is one that Jesus reiterates:
Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you. (Matthew 5:42 WEB)
I think the political left has a very valid criticism of the political right- the sour heart posture we often demonstrate when talking about helping the poor and foreigners.
So what are you saying? What about the student loans?
God cares about you (I’d love to tell you more!), and he wants people to live prosperously and freely. We need to adopt the right heart posture, put our money where our mouth is, and give generously to help those in need.
The modern American system of going into debt with interest for a long time (for things like houses, student loans, and cars) is totally opposed to the society God lays out for his people. The student loan burden today is a side effect of not living in that. Politicians have already decided what to do with student loans today, so let’s talk about the future.
As a country, we need to move away from systems that require large amounts of debt. Businesses should show support for more cost-effective vocational training by hiring people from these programs, or establishing them when programs don’t exist. We should draft legislation that stops huge institutional/foreign investors from buying up houses - just let houses be for ordinary people to live in.
As individuals, we should make life choices in a way that avoids debt as much as possible. Seek out vocational training programs if you’re unable to go through college without debt. If you must have a mortage to avoid decades of rent payments, pick the most modest house you can stand and pay it off as soon as possible to avoid the burden of interest. Live within your means, and try to secure the means of production when you can.
I’d be happy to hear your comments. You probably have some way to message me if you’re reading this. Or find my email at the bottom of this site. Or if you want to comment and discuss with other people, consider inviting some friends over or chatting with your neighbors.