Question:

I have lent money to some people in my work place. Is it right to ask it back because in doing so I have to be firm, and when they don't return it I get weird ideas about them. Basically my question is whether it is a sin to ask money back once you have lent it. I know it's a sin to keep other people's money, but is the reverse wrong too? I know God will repay my losses, but am I being selfish or is it right? The sum of money is large but is manageable.

My other question is: Why did Jesus tell us to help others? Because once you help others people, they treat you like this, which is degrading.


Answer:

The question is are you in the business of lending money to make a profit, or did you loan the money as an act of charity?

There is nothing wrong with banks and other businesses that provide a service for a fee (Matthew 25:27). I will grant you that there are unethical businesses, such as the payday advance type businesses which charge far too high of an interest rate on the very people who can least afford to pay such rates. But there are legitimate business, both public and private, which invest money with the stated goal of gaining interest on the money. Such arrangements are documented in contracts spelling out the terms of the loan.

But if, as I suspect, you are talking about an informal loan given to help someone out, then the answer is different. "Give to everyone who asks of you. And from him who takes away your goods do not ask them back. And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise. But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. 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. 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. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil" (Luke 6:30-35). When you want to help someone out, which is a noble thing to do, you have to realize that the reason the person needs help is because they aren't good at managing money. Therefore, a loan means there is a good chance that you won't get paid back. So in your charity, only give away money that you can willingly and freely give, not expecting it to come back. If it does, then that is wonderful. If it doesn't, then you still have helped someone in need.

Christians help others because life isn't about yourself. The second great command is "You shall love your neighbor as yourself" (Matthew 22:39). Our focus is to be on others and not ourselves. "This is a faithful saying, and these things I want you to affirm constantly, that those who have believed in God should be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable to men" (Titus 3:8). If you are helping others because you look for praise back, then you've missed the point. Help is offered because there is an opportunity to do good as God commanded, and thus, any praise goes to God. "If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen" (I Peter 4:11).