Reading for Today: Proverb Chapter 6
Verse 1-2: "1 My son, if you become surety for your friend, If you have shaken hands in pledge for a stranger, 2 You are snared by the words of your mouth; You are taken by the words of your mouth. "
I remember when I was a little boy how my grandfather told me that a "handshake" was as firm as a contract. No pen needed - a man's word ensured his agreement. Many of you may remember those days. Today things are different. Maybe I shouldn't be, but I am still shocked when people don't honor their word. It is better to have not agreed to anything than to turn from your word. That brings me to today's "gold nugget". The word surety from this verse means what it sounds like. "...if you become surety for your friend" uses the word "surety" with the root word "sure". "Sure" meaning absolute, without doubt or wavering -a guarantee. If you are a guarantee for someone today and they don't pay their debt, you will pay it for them. Often times referred to as a co-signer; when you have co-signed, "You are snared by the words of your mouth; you are taken by the words of your mouth.” Many Christians do not practice co-signing because of this very scripture and they have perfect grounds for it. The scriptures teach us to be very careful when we guarantee another person. If we vouch for someone and they back out, we may be left standing there when the lender comes for his money. He will not hesitate to take from your family. I see this scripture like Jesus' words in Luke Chapter 6, "34 And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive back, what credit is that to you? For even sinners lend to sinners to receive as much back. 35 But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High." The way these tie together for me is through the fact that Jesus says to loan and do not hope for it back. My dad taught me to only loan what I can afford to lose and don't ask for it back. If it does come back, you have not lost anything even though you were willing to. If it doesn't come back, you have only lost what you were willing to lose. Continuing with Jesus' words, we see that lending to someone and expecting it back is more like asking someone to hold your money for you. If they are in need and you can meet it, just do it and forget about it. I won’t say that I don’t co-sign or loan money to anyone, but if I do it will have to be something that I can pay back if the recipient couldn't or wouldn't.
Just in case you thought this devotional was going to be solely about co-signing and not relevant to your situation, hold on for a second. The principle of vouching for others can be more than money. Often times we "co-sign" for people’s character. Be certain that you will be judged by others according to who you associate with and who you claim as a friend. When you refer someone, introduce someone or promote someone, your credibility is at stake. I think we should stand up for others, defend others and vouch for others, but I also think we should use caution while doing it. When that person turns out to be a discredit, your credit may be effected by it.
Lord, help me to remember that who I associate for and vouch for should be people of character and not an offence to you and your name. Remind me also to give without hoping for a return or keeping score. Amen
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