I have read the book of Proverbs many times and there were a few verses that really never made sense to me about being "surety" for a friend or a stranger. I didn't know what surety was. 1. The condition of being sure, especially of oneself; self-assurance. 2. Something beyond doubt; a certainty. 3. A pledge or formal promise made to secure against loss, damage, or default; a security. 4. One who has contracted to be responsible for another, especially one who assumes responsibilities or debts in the event of default. Dictionary.com During my almost two years with my exboyfriend, he had made many promises to me... many commitments... many sureties. And when we broke up with me he told me that it was all a lie to keep me happy. I was let down and broken. I believed all his promises and when he told me forever I believed that he meant it. Proverbs 6:1-5 1My son, if you become surety for your friend, If you have shaken hands in pledge for a stranger, 2 You are snared by the words of your mouth; You are taken by the words of your mouth 3 So do this, my son, and deliver yourself; For you have come into the hand of your friend: Go and humble yourself; Plead with your friend. 4 Give no sleep to your eyes, Nor slumber to your eyelids. 5 Deliver yourself like a gazelle from the hand of the hunter, And like a bird from the hand of the fowler. We need to be sure we are not the surety for a friend, the sureness that something is going to happen to them. I have seen how dangerous this can be. I was so sure of my exboyfriend, he had become an idol, and he could never fulfill all the promises he made me. But I trusted in him. When I become that sureness for a friend I am in danger of being an idol. I do not what to do anything that could cause a brother or sister to stumble in their walk. Proverbs 11:15 He who is surety for a stranger will suffer, But one who hates being surety is secure. We must have God as our surety because He is the only one who can truly fulfill His promises. He can do what He said. We shouldn't make promises that we can't keep and aren't willing to keep. We should do what is right and strive after following God. We can be there for our friends, but we will fail them sometimes. Our friends will always fail us. We cannot think that they will not because they are humans just like us.
1My son, if you become surety for your friend,
If you have shaken hands in pledge for a stranger,
2 You are snared by the words of your mouth;
You are taken by the words of your mouth
3 So do this, my son, and deliver yourself;
For you have come into the hand of your friend:
Go and humble yourself;
Plead with your friend.
Verses 1 and 2: This is a very relevant advice for Christians in these days of financial hardship. Basically, it is that you should never be a guarantor for a friend who is accepting a financial commitment in the form of say a loan from a financial institution, or a scholarship etc. As a guarator you would commit to paying for your friend's debt if he or she cannot repay the debt........very dangerous position to be in...........for you would not want to find yourself in the situation where you have to repay your friend's debt when you are struggling to pay your own.
I have known of rseveral elatives and friends who out of their very kind hearts have stood as guarantors for their buddies or relatives and have been declared bankrupt, losing even their houses because they could not repay their friend's debt astheir friend could not honour their commitment to repay their loan or scholarship.
Verse 3 : If you have been unwittingly trapped into being a guarantor because you did not know the consequence of it, this verse says quickly go plead your friend to release you of that guarantee (and more importantly, you must get release from the party you have made the guarantee to ie. the financial institution or scholarship sponsor.) before the guarantee is called upon.
Christians really have to BEWARE what financial commitments they are getting themselves into by reading the fine print of financial agreements. More so if you are not the borrower and you have been asked to sign as guarantor when you become as liable as the borrower should the borrower not be able to pay or even abscond his/her responsibilties.
Does it mean that a Christian should never be a guarantor for a friend or family member? Yes! What is the alternative? Just give your friend the amount he/she intends to borrow and write it off... if you can do that then you can stand by your friend financially. If you cannot do that, then you must not even think of being a guarantor. If your friend finally repays the amount you have given to him.. consider it a bonus. Praise the Lord! If your friend cannot repay the amount. Praise the Lord for you have loved your brother or sister in the Lord and the Lord has given you the means to help him/her.