One who lacks sense gives a pledge
and puts up security in the presence of his neighbor.
This is one of several proverbs warning against putting up security for another person (6:1; 11:15; 22:26). The concern is putting ones self at risk. Putting up security for another person is saying that I will make good what that person cannot, even though I will reap no benefit from what I give.
Are you able to say that with contentment? Are you able to part, without harm and with contentment, from whatever will be required of you? Will you be able to keep the relationship that you now have with the person you are putting up security for during the time that he is still under his obligation and if he is unable to meet his obligation? If so, then feel free to sign.
But if you will be harmed; if you will fret over your loss or possible loss; if your relationship will be tested by his ability to come through then know that you are putting that relationship under strain, as well as your own peace. And if you have a family, then you are risking their welfare.
The pressure to put up security comes about because of the relationship likely a family member or a friend. You do want to see him succeed. You dont want to let him down. Perhaps not signing will itself strain the relationship. And what if it does work out, and he does repay and is grateful because you helped him when he was in need? You showed faith when others would not!
Again, you must weigh the risk. Failing to pay his due, or he does pay but only under the weight of a burden now to you is that a risk worth taking? Again, if you are married or have a family, if others are dependent on you can you put that at risk? For risk is the definition of a security put up for another person.
But what about Jesus? Did he not risk much for our sakes? He did, but as a gift, not as a loan. And he definitely did not put up his life as our security in hopes that we might be able to pay back the debt. If you wish to be generous, then be generous with gifts, not with loans; not with anything that you must have back.
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Please include the following statement on any distributed copy: By D. Marion Clark. © 2023 Tenth Presbyterian Church. Website: tenth.org