In today’s devotional we return to my theme for Proverbs 6, “Common Sense for the Common Man”. Proverbs 6:1-5 addresses the folly of becoming a surety for another man’s debt [co-signing on someone’s loan, assuming legal responsibility for their indebtedness].
In our March 6 study of Proverbs 6:1-3, we stated the following principles:
1. To become surety for friend or family is risky (6:1a).
2. To become surety for a “stranger” is folly (6:1b).
3. To become surety for another’s debt is a snare (6:2).
4. You should seek relief of your commitment for another’s debt as soon as possible (6:3).
Why is Solomon stressing the danger of being a co-signer to another’s debt?
The answer: It puts your good name and fiscal wellbeing at risk. Too many parents and grandparents have lost everything because they allowed their children and grandchildren to guilt them into an unwise financial obligation. Co-signing for credit cards, automobiles, home loans or loaning money for investment ventures has cost family members their health and life savings; sending many to an early grave.
Proverbs 6:4-5 continues the same admonition: Get out from the financial yoke of another’s debt without delay!
Proverbs 6:4-5 – “Give not sleep to thine eyes, nor slumber [drowsiness] to thine eyelids. 5 Deliver thyself [rescue; pluck] as a roe [gazelle] from the hand of the hunter, and as a bird from the hand of the fowler.”
Solomon’s admonition: Not even sleep (6:4) should be cause for dawdling in seeking freedom from another’s debt. Like a gazelle’s escape from her hunter or a bird’s flight from her fowler [a hunter of birds], flee the entrapment of being a surety for another (6:5). There you have it—common sense in the matter of financial indebtedness!
A practical conclusion: 1) For the borrower, don’t guilt your loved ones into co-signing for your debt. 2) For loved ones wrestling with co-signing for another—like a gazelle taking flight from the hunter, flee the temptation—Don’t Do It!