My child, if you have put up security for a friend’s debt or agreed to guarantee the debt of a stranger—if you have trapped yourself by your agreement and are caught by what you said—follow my advice and save yourself, for you have placed yourself at your friend’s mercy. Now swallow your pride; go and beg to have your name erased. Don’t put it off; do it now! Don’t rest until you do. Save yourself like a gazelle escaping from a hunter, like a bird fleeing from a net.” (6:1-5)
I had to dip into the New Living Translation today, because I had no idea what the word surety meant, or how to understand it in this context. This version helps, especially since it seems like a surprising bit of advice.
Taking on someone else’s debt, or being a co-signer or something, sounds noble. Why would the godly advice to be get out? I think the idea is having the humility to keep ourselves from getting in over our head. I see this all the time, in myself, and in some others I’ve worked with. We over-commit and over-extend ourselves. It seems like the good and right thing to do, but we can’t actually be responsible for ourselves and everyone else. We end up making promises we can’t keep. It turns into a pride problem. Now swallow your pride and go! He says. Have your name erased! Un-sign yourself up. Yeah, it’s going to look bad and maybe give you a bad rep, but that’s why you had to swallow your pride. Perhaps moving forward we will be more careful about becoming a sad, panicking bird caught in a net.
I’d like to say I’m growing in this area, but I know how excited I still get about stuff, and impulsively agree to things that sound noble or adventurous. I’m learning to slow down.
What about you? Have you bitten off more that you can chew? Have you made some commitments in order to look good or generous, but don’t really have the capacity to follow through? Ask the LORD, today, if there’s anything you need to get yourself out of, then swallow your pride and go.