Concerned About Credit Scores?

Today I talked to a friend who experienced financial crisis this past year - partly due to circumstances beyond her control, and partly due to choices made. The end result was credit card debt that was beyond what she could manage.

It wasn’t HUGE debt in comparison to what many people have accumulated, but it still felt overwhelming and destructive. The stress that came with it affected her whole life. So, rather than walk away from it all, she made the decision to ask for help from a company that deals with debt mediation.

It’s been approximately six months since the process began, and during that time she’s been called, sent harassing letters, and even been visited by a man representing the credit card company – all trying various scare tactics to get her to cough up the money she owes – threatening her with a credit history that will be tainted for years if she doesn’t.

It’s not that she doesn’t want to pay her bills. On the contrary. She just wants to work out an agreeable way to pay money owed without drowning in the process. And without being treated like smelly garbage.

The approach used to “encourage” her to pay made me wonder . . .

Why are we sooooo concerned with our credit scores anyway?

Sure, we need to have good credit to obtain loans for cars and homes. Even many companies now include a credit check as part of the hiring process.

But how my friend is treated by these two credit card companies, you'd think a stain on your credit history is akin to having leprosy.

Americans are obsessed with having credit, and being able to get credit.

I’m curious. Are Americans the only people who base so much of their lives on credit? Do people in France, Italy, and Spain also gage their value on what they’re “able” to purchase with what they don’t have?

A friend of mine is a missionary in Peru. He helps young children who have been emotionally and physically broken – and sold. He gets them off the streets and into the mission’s home where they can be nourished in body and soul. Do you think those children care – or will ever care – about whether they have good credit or not? When did our perspective get so out of balance?

As a Christian, I believe it’s important to be good stewards and take care of our debts. But, I also think God might shake His head in sorrow at how consumed we’ve become about finances. And that includes getting caught up with our credit scores – as if they give us more value than someone else.

With this country’s present economy, thousands of people have lost jobs and are struggling to financially survive. Even those of us with regular paychecks are learning to live with less. (And that’s not a bad thing.)

Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? (Matthew 6: 26 NIV)

Regardless of who we are - and where we are - on the financial ladder, God tells us not to worry.

He will provide.


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