Til Debt Do Us Part

It has been said that the best way to please everyone is to believe nothing, say nothing and do nothing. Since launching this column, I have certainly succeeded in not pleasing everyone!

On Monday, one of my articles was featured in The Washington Times, one of the few major daily newspapers that takes a conservative view of the political world. You may want to see my article here. It was subsequently reposted at FoxNation.com.

On the day it was published, it ranked as one of the most read articles on The Washington Times website. While I cringed at the editor’s choice of “BENTLEY: Don’t Feed the Lazy,” for a title, I was pleased that the Bible verse I cited, II Thessalonians 3:10, was included. Needless to say, the polarized responses to the article indicate a significant national divide.

As Christians, we need to take an ardent stand for our economic freedom that was granted to us by God’s grace and kindness. If we stand passively on the sidelines trying to please everyone, I believe we will become enslaved without a shot ever being fired on our soil.

A primary area where our policies are deviating from biblical truth is in the management of our national debt. Let’s take a look at a simplified analysis of the financial problems we currently face in the U.S.:

  • U.S tax revenue: $ 2.15 trillion1
  • Federal budget: $ 3.8 trillion2
  • New debt: $ 1.65 trillion3
  • National debt: $ 15 trillion4
  • Recent budget cut: $ 38 billion5

Now let’s remove some zeros and pretend it’s your budget…

  • Your annual income: $ 21,500
  • Your household spending: $ 38,000
  • New debt this year: $ 16,500
  • Your credit card debt: $ 150,000
  • Recent budget cut: $ 385

In a household budget, whenever unsecured debt approaches a 1 to 1 ratio with annual income, the borrower is in serious trouble. When this ratio reaches a 2 to 1 level the problem intensifies to out-of-control trouble. If you are somehow able to borrow to a 7 to 1 ratio, the problem becomes a runaway crisis. It screams for immediate action to reverse the trend.

The Federal Government has become the caretaker of first and last resort. This philosophy is simply unsustainable. Our deviation from God’s principles is rapidly becoming our downfall.

So our elected officials have now recognized that a 7 to 1 ratio is unsustainable. Thus, we have a special deficit-reduction “Super Committee,” charged with cutting at least $1.2 trillion in government red ink over the coming decade. Note: This is not to reduce the $15 trillion in existing debt, but only an attempt to reduce deficit spending each year!

Even with these hoped for cuts, we’ll still be trillions of dollars more in the hole by 2021.

Does it sound like anyone on that committee is aware of Proverbs 22:7: “The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.”?

It shouldn’t surprise anyone that the Super Committee can find no common ground for agreement. Just as European leaders find themselves unable to reach a meaningful solution to their problems while teetering on the verge of insolvency—so does America.

This political gridlock has divided the nation into two camps—one wants to tax the rich to close the deficit gap while the other would be satisfied to simply reduce our deficit spending. Neither side, it seems, is willing to admit that we are standing on the edge of a cliff, looking into an abyss of debt.

Rancorous partisan fighting among lawmakers in Washington continues to produce more confusion than solutions. Perhaps they should consult the wisdom of the Old Testament for clarity:

If you fully obey the Lord your God…you will lend to many nations but will borrow from none. The Lord will make you the head, not the tail…you will always be at the top, never the bottom….However, if you do not obey the Lord your God… The alien who lives among you will rise above you higher and higher, but you will sink lower and lower. He will lend to you, but you will not lend to him. He will be the head, but you will be the tail.” 6

When our national budget reflected our obedience to God’s ways, we were the largest lending nation in the world. Tragically, we have given up our once high position as the “head” to become the “tail” –the largest debtor nation in the history of the world.

Debt has divided us. Only a return to God and His principles will unite us again and move us from being the tail back to being the head.

I pray you will stand with us as we seek to influence our nation back to honoring God in all our ways and to protect our priceless freedoms.

We were home in Georgia for a quiet Thanksgiving weekend, except for a surprise $1400 expense to remove roots from our septic system! Thank goodness for emergency savings!

We are getting ready for all of our children (and grandson!) to gather for Christmas, including my son who will be on leave from combat duty in Afghanistan.

Did you participate in this year’s “Black & Blue Friday” madness? My next post will address the rise of “competitive shopping” and how this sickness afflicts our nation.

Be sure to leave your feedback in the comments below.

Chuck Bentley

1 “Federal Revenues Have More Than Tripled Since 1965,” The Heritage Foundation

2 “In $3.8 Trillion Budget, Obama Pivots to Trim Future Deficits,” The New York Times, Feb. 1, 2010

3 “White House Expects Deficit to Spike to $1.65 Trillion,” The Wall Street Journal, Feb. 14, 2011

4 “National Debt Hits $15 Trillion as Congress Strains To Cut $1.2 Trillion from Deficits, “ Fox News, Nov. 16, 2011

5 “Congress Passes $38 billion in Budget Cuts,” Los Angeles Times, April 14, 2011

6 Deuteronomy 28:1, 12-13, 15, 43-44. NIV

About Chuck Bentley

CEO, Crown Mininstries
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16 Responses to Til Debt Do Us Part

  1. GH says:

    I truly agree. My strategy and/or “view” on all of this, is that I have in the past worked in varous capacities within local, county, state & even federal govt. I have personally witnessed the types of waste that is irritating our already tenuous finacial (nation) situation. My suggestion is back to basics. First of all lets start with all the people in the govt who are making WAY TOO much money for doing nothing. If they would take or rather they would get at least a 40% pay reduction we would save MILLIONS of dollars, I mean after all if I can barely survive on less than 5,000/year and the govt EXPECTS the rest of the world to “live on” less than 35,000/year why do THEY NEED to earn a whopping $500,000+/year when the rest of nation can’t even buy gorceris or have heat? Then, STOP ALL wasteful & USELESS spending. Dept within the govt are told that they HAVE to spend ALL of their budgeted allowances each year or the govt takes it away next year – BIG MISTAKE! How about this: IF a dept efficiently & without causing a decrease in its effectiveness, efficiency, service & productivity, let them KEEP their budgeted amount for the next year, so that if there is a “emergency” the funds will be available WITHOUT going into debt to cover it-that would be a “reward” for them using their budgets “wisely” without undue duress on the other staff or people they serve. Next, there is absolutely NO NEED to spend $50 on a stapler that you do NOT need-I saw this first hand federal govt agency, had BOXES of staplers in closet they did not use to “save” their budget $ for next year. Ridiculous. THEN, lets take the $ from where it does NOT benefit the “whole of the nation/society”. There is no reason why funding “needs” to be allocated to any and ALL companies, facilites, organizations that promote, propagate and/or “perform” acts that hurt, kill, steal or destroy LIFE in ANY FORM!! Then, let’s start to “save” 5% of ALL incoming monies and take 10% to tithing (or call it savings instead of tithing or “donation” or emergency fund, etc…). IF you/we do NOT have the money for it-don’t BUY it, don’t get it, don’t finance it, don’t get a loan for it – Period!! The only exception would be for our military and/or disaster reliefs funding, agencies and the like as that directly affects society and the stability of our nation as a whole. But there is no one in the govt BRAVE enough to take tough action – all they mostly care about is getting “their” money & “oh well whatever” for everyboy else. Also, last time I remember, I do not think that any govt official NEEDS to take a vacation every other week – and the family certainly does NOT need to go with him on “official business” trips. Let’s save the jet fuel, the wasteful spending & tighten EVERYBODY’s wallets, not just some.

  2. barbara mccallum says:

    Excellent article. I pray for our country to return to the Lord. The Bible is the Lord’s Word and reveals truths – it is a mirror to our souls – some are to worldly to see themselves revealed and seek the Lord. I will keep praying.

    hopefully, you will impact some thinking and open blinded eyes!

  3. Todd says:

    Hey Chuck – really enjoy your insights.

    While in the broader picture I completely agree that a return to our God and his principles is our only hope, I challenge you to lay out a practical way forward. Where should those first cuts occur? How do we eliminate $1,650,000,000,000 from our budget? Unlike a single US household, budget cuts at the governmental level will have a heavy economic impact not only here in the US, but globally.

    On the revenue side, Tax increases will have a chilling effect in the US and possibly result in the flight of major global businesses (and jobs) to other countries with more favorable tax rates. There appear to be no good answers to the problems we face, so we stumble along hoping things will turn around in the next electoral cycle.

    Personally, I believe our greatest problem in our nation is an unwillingness to find common ground. We are quick to blame. We are quick to express our opinions about what is wrong, but slow to listen, slow to compromise, slow to do the hard work of finding a workable solution that we can all work toward. Ultimately to balance our budget we will need to increase taxes. We will need to do the hard work of cutting costs.

    At some point the people of this planet are going to have to pay for the excesses of the last 100 years. And those are going to be some very hard years – and unfortunately hardest on the poorest and the oppressed.

  4. Kristine Conway says:

    All of this is great, but how do we get those in Washington on board? And once they’re on board, then what? Your ideas are sound and Biblical, and I’m 100% behind them, but I’d love to know how this can possibly go from paper to action.

  5. Admin says:

    having worked 26 years for several local county government agencies, I can tell you that when they cut, they don’t cut very much. they certainly don’t cut employee salaries. when I worked for the public libraries, when the cuts first came, we lost our water cooler in the staff lounge… WOW. big sacrifice there… another thing they cut is custodial cleaning supplies…. they look to cut things from the little people, the workers, the people that actually get the real work done…. rarely do they make significant cuts at the top… when the top dogs want new computers or new office supplies, or office furniture, they get that stuff.

  6. Jennifer says:

    Dear, Chuck
    I am so happy that someone in Washington is reading your blogs.

  7. Clestel Riffe says:

    Chuck,

    I Agree, Washington is out of control. What we need in Washington is someone that believes in God and his standards. Washington needs to be run like a Christian believing household.The problem is, has this nation departed far enough way from God that they will not elect a Christian to lead the nation?

  8. DebtFree says:

    Waste is rampant in the schools as well. I know of pallet loads of brand new, never used, food and books THROWN AWAY, still in the shrink-wrap and basements full of furniture that were purchased for the reasons cited by GH in the comments. I know of this in 4 states but the employees who worked in low end departments were terrified to mention it out loud since they wanted to keep their jobs. PATHETIC. .. P.S. The public schools DO NOT need more money ! It is NOT for the children! Let’s start local and do our part to create accountability.

  9. L Erickson says:

    Thank you, Chuck, for your insight… great work as always!

  10. Jim Poulos says:

    With all due respect Mr. Bentley, confusing the work of the Church and with restoring sense in a Nation (even if it is your own) is divided eye.

    “If your eye is single your whole body will be full of light, but if your eye is divided, your whole body will be full of darkness.”

    As dear a ones own nation maybe, Christ’s work is focused on His Church. Shouldn’t beleiver’s focus be His focus?

    • Mark says:

      Jim Poulos, If the nation where you live is a prosperous nation, you will have greater opportunity to do Christs work around the world, just like America has done over the last few centuries. The USA is a major influence on the rest of the world, and this influence has done immeasurable good throughout the world over the years, sending missionaries and financial aid ect… If America falls, it will be a sad day for the work of the Lord throughout the world. Don’t underestimate the importance of the state of your country’s government.

      • mike says:

        Although what you say appears to be ‘common sense’, it is not biblical. Jesus did not speak on government much and I believe that is because His instructions were not for governments, but for us as individuals. Be righteous, be an example, and others will follow. Wallow in the things of this world (a natural man rather than spiritual) and you will never lead people to Christ, no matter how strong you have made your nation.

  11. Jim says:

    Mark,

    I don’t believe Our Lord was referencing the United States government when he said, “You are the salt of the earth.” The Church becomes misguided when It overestimates the importance of the state and underestimates it own value in the sight of the Lord. In this prosperous nation “The Church has lost its saltiness and has become good for nothing except to be cast out and trampled underfoot by men.”

    Jim

  12. Jase says:

    Chuck – its great to go on about debt, but I don’t see a lot about how to create jobs. Do you have a plan (that you can articulate without Bible verse quotes but is still Biblical)?

  13. DebtFree says:

    Mr. P, Your *work* may be that you are to be a godly husband/father/son as a Jesus-like loving leader/provider/servant/example/teacher. Jesus was/is also our Healer and raised folks from the dead/ He never owned a home nor did he marry and have children. “If you fully obey the Lord your God…you will lend to many nations but will borrow from none. The Lord will make you the head, not the tail…you will always be at the top, never the bottom….However, if you do not obey the Lord your God… The alien who lives among you will rise above you higher and higher, but you will sink lower and lower. He will lend to you, but you will not lend to him. He will be the head, but you will be the tail.” 6

  14. Jennifer says:

    I picked up Mr. Burkett’s book titled “The Coming Economic Earthquake” published in 1991. I’m in the middle of it, but it is such an eye-opener! I’ve never understood fully how our government economic system worked until now, and I now see what he published 20 years ago is coming to pass.

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