I’m a bit late to this party, but I’m going to address it anyway: President Biden’s decision to cancel student college debt, up to $10,000 for some and $20,000 for others. It’s now the law of the land as of August 24. Not because Congress voted on it, but because Biden by Executive Order said so. The reason I’m weighing in on this is because IT IS a profoundly spiritual matter. And to anticipate what some are thinking, it is also a matter of spiritual warfare.
As I’ve watched the reaction of Christians to this decision, I have found their responses troubling. Few understand that when we speak of “forgiveness” we are in theological territory. Forgiveness isn’t a political concept, it is a spiritual transaction, even when the matter is financial. To forgive is to absolve, to treat the matter as if what’s forgiven never happened in the first place. It is a purging, as in the pardoning of our sins at the cross. To be a Christian is to be forgiven. But forgiveness costs someone something. At Calvary, it cost Christ His life and immeasurable suffering.
College debt forgiveness costs U. S. Taxpayers. A forgiven debt must be paid by someone when transactionally another is forgiven. The college students affected are off the hook. You and I, as taxpayers pick up this expense. It may not have been our children who incurred this debt, which has been calculated to cost somewhere between $400 billion and $1 trillion! No matter. Mr. and Mrs. taxpayer, you’re stuck. In our family a college educational debt was incurred. Through hard work, the child with that debt paid it off early. Had she waited, she would now have the debt forgiven. So, what was the worth her labor to pay off the debt? Nothing. That is not forgiveness, it is largesse, philanthropy without the consent of the donor.
Christians are divided on this matter, and both quote the Bible. Their general proof-texts are:
FOR DEBT FORGIVENESS: Exodus 22:25 — “If you lend money to one of my people among you who is needy, do not treat it like a business deal; charge no interest.”
AGAINST DEBT FORGIVENESS: Ecclesiastes 5:5 — “It is better not to make a vow than to make one and not fulfill it.”
As far as the Bible is concerned it is poor exegesis to take a concept specifically intended to apply to a theocratic Old Testament society (Exodus 22:25) and enforce it on a democratic republic. Our American culture has been based on the concept of responsibility. If you incur a debt, pay it or you will suffer the consequences. The edict of debt forgiveness in the Hebrew Bible was intended for a specific group at a specific period in history. Those in favor of student loan forgiveness who see it as the Christian thing to do need to keep the whole of the law. if you approve the Biden decision, enjoy your next kosher meal. The ancient Jewish system of justice in social matters in a tribal, near Eastern, nomadic culture can’t be applied to the United State of America,
Ecclesiastes 5:5 (It is better not to make a vow than to make one and not fulfill it.) is a more applicable scripture if one looks for a Bible proof-text. Biden’s plan is a financially regressive redistribution of wealth. It takes from those who choose not to get a college education and forces them to pay off debts of others who incurred such debit in a lawful manner with full disclosure. The recipients of such will be a privileged group of people who, because of their college education, will eventually have higher earning potential. The universities, some with billion-dollar endowment funds, will be the ones most benefiting. Those who didn’t make it to college will be forcibly taxed to pay for the indiscretions of others. It is like using federal tax dollars to subsidize Planned Parenthood and free abortions for veterans, another recent government edict.
Why is this a matter of spiritual warfare? Governmental intrusion by edict robs from those who choose to pay their debts and forces them to pay for others who incurred debt—and won’t pay. That is the way of Mammon, not Christian conscience. Worse yet, it is the creeping control of civil powers over private volitional decisions. That is a giant leap forward for the Antichrist. It brings people deeper into government control without their consent. (Remember, student loans were consensually acquired.) It increases the financial bondage of all for the benefit of a few who now claim they have no responsibility for their vow.
In the spiritual world, Satan is constantly looking for ways to increase the bondage of humans, emotionally, morally, and financially. Forgiveness of debt is a Christian virtue when it is non-forcible and the result of mercy. The enforced transfer of wealth by civil decree is neither merciful nor biblical.