“Common Sense for the Common Man” is my theme for Proverbs 6. Solomon addresses many topics in this chapter; however, I will confine my focus to only the first—the folly of becoming a surety for another’s debt. I have taken liberty to insert some brief explanations in the text:
Proverbs 6:1-3 – “My son, if thou be surety [security] for thy friend [brother or close associate], if thou hast stricken [guaranteed another’s debt] thy hand with a stranger [one who is neither family or friend],2 Thou art snared with the words of thy mouth, thou art taken [caught as prey in a trap] with the words of thy mouth.3 Do this now [without delay], my son, and deliver thyself, when thou art come into the hand [power & obligation] of thy friend; go, humble thyself, and make sure thy friend [ask him to pay his debt and release you from obligation].”
Too many well-meaning saints have suffered financial ruin by failing to observe Solomon’s admonition to his son…It is folly to guarantee another’s debt! We would be wise and avoid a lifetime of grief if we would heed the lessons Solomon imparted to his son:
1. To become surety for friend or family is risky (Proverbs 6:1a).
2. To become surety for a “stranger” is folly (Proverbs 6:1b).
2 Corinthians 6:14a – “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers…”
3. To become surety for another’s debt is a snare [a trap used by hunters] (Proverbs 6:2).
4. Do not rest until you are free from the obligation of another’s debt (Proverbs 6:3).
My closing challenge to you who have guaranteed a friend or loved one’s debt is go to them, risk humiliation, and ask to be relieved of your responsibility for their debt (Proverbs 6:3b).