Monday, January 30, 2023

Unwise Business Deals (Proverbs 6:1-5)

"My son, if you become surety for your friend, if you have shaken hands in pledge for a stranger …" (Prov. 6:1).

In chapter 5 we were warned against the trappings of a wicked companion. Now in chapter 6 we are cautioned against trouble from an imprudent friend. This advice is directed to the person who has unwisely promised someone that he would back him up financially as a surety. This is not an absolute rule against making a bond, but it is a warning against doing so unwisely. How common is it for the young to engage themselves in foolish business ventures, to make promises where they should not, to become inextricably bound to another in the quest for gain. While business deals can certainly be wise and profitable, such dealings must be entered into with close examination. Many have come to ruin because they did not act cautiously before making a financial and legal commitment to another. They fell quickly for the sales ploy and did not gather all the facts necessary to make a prudent decision.

Young people must especially be warned against making foolish commitments, not only in reference to surety, but in employment, borrowing money, partnerships, business transactions, contracts, etc. Whatever the circumstance, we must be cautious with whom we make deals and what details are involved. Otherwise, we might find ourselves in a difficult situation. “Often [the young] may be snared and taken by the words of their mouth, by entering into virtual promises, without knowing how far they were pledged, or what might be the issue,” Bridges wrote. “Christian prudence will keep us clear from such engagements, which bring distress upon our families, dishonor upon our name, and reproach upon our religion.… While the ‘good man showeth favor, and lendeth, he must guide his affairs with discretion.’ ”

Solomon advises that if you find yourself in a bad business deal, you should admit your error, and plead with your friend to work with you toward a resolution if you are not able to get out of the situation. This may seem simple, but many people dive deeper into trouble because they are unwilling to admit they were wrong and to take steps, and losses, to get themselves out of the mess. The wise man, however, will humble himself before God and man, admit he was wrong, and do all he can to remedy the situation.

Have you made any unwise business commitments? Borrowed money you can’t pay back? Involved yourself in an unwise partnership? Have you admitted that the decision was a foolish one? If it is, humble yourself before God and take the necessary steps to get out of the situation. Do not put off what you know you need to do.