Careful How You Stand Surety

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I recall how, a few years ago, someone I thought I knew and had assumed was very responsible wanted to take a loan for which he required a surety so he asked me to be his surety and I accepted to be, purely on emotional grounds. He had told me this long story plus he is a believer and I thought ‘being there’ for a friend meant that I should accept to be his surety. Not to worry though, I have learnt many things thereafter and now realize that ‘being there’ for a friend is sometimes refusing to be their surety. I thank God for the older friend who counseled me out of that stupid act for which I would have paid dearly.

Proverbs 17: 18 “It’s poor judgment to guarantee another person’s debt or put up security for a friend.”

As believers, God has made available to us so much wisdom to guide us in our everyday lives. No wonder Jesus says if we follow the light that He is, we shall never be in darkness. If only we would follow learn to follow that light. I have seen so many believers who without hearing God have guaranteed loans for people they thought they knew to be responsible only to find out later that repaying debts was not one of the most important things to them. Some others even hope to pay but find that they are unable to pay and the burden falls on the guarantor. A burden or weight that God never planned for you to bear. Sadly, you may be called to meet your obligation as guarantor when you are going through a financial crisis yourself.

Proverbs 22:26-27 “Don’t agree to guarantee another person’s debt or put up security for someone else. If you can’t pay it, even your bed will be snatched from under you.”

Please let us be careful to stand as guarantors for loans. Scriptures actually discourage it just like it discourages us from taking loans. We are called to be lenders and not borrowers though I admit that there may be times when one is compelled to borrow. Interestingly more often than not we lie when we stand as guarantors because we do not give consideration to the fact that as surety, you are saying you have the money and in reality we do not have it but we accept to be surety because we assume that we would never have to be called upon to pay the debt. The truth is that I have known believers who have never felt the need to pay their loans and do not understand why that is a problem even at the risk of the guarantor being harassed. If their guarantor gets upset with them for not meeting their obligations with regard to the loan, they are angry.

Proverbs 6: 1- 4 “My child, if you have put up security for a friend’s debt or agreed to guarantee the debt of a stranger— if you have trapped yourself by your agreement and are caught by what you said— follow my advice and save yourself, for you have placed yourself at your friend’s mercy. Now swallow your pride; go and beg to have your name erased. Don’t put it off; do it now! Don’t rest until you do.”

Please it is wise to be very careful about guaranteeing loans. It is something one needs to give good consideration to before reaching a decision. If you already find yourself in one of those situations where the borrower is not interested in meeting his obligation toward the lender, please pray about it and seek counsel from God so that in a His mercy, He can show you how to get out of it.

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