WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
MARCH 6, 2022
TOPIC: BEWARE OF STANDING GUARANTOR OR SURETY FOR OTHERS
BY T. O. BANSO
“He who is surety for a stranger will suffer, but one who hates being surety is secure” (Proverbs 11:15 New King James Version).
One of the ways that people put themselves in trouble is to stand surety or guarantor for others. This could be in terms of loans, an obligation to be performed, or administrative or court bail. Some people are rash; they don’t consider the implications or consequences of their actions. They don’t think about what would happen in case the person defaults.
Some people have had to pay back the loans they stood guarantor for or have been sent to prison by the court because the person they stood surety for ran away or they couldn’t produce him in court or at the police station. If we will follow the Word of God, we will save ourselves, most times, from needless troubles.
Don’t be too quick to agree to be a guarantor for a friend’s loan, particularly when you have not proved the person. You don’t want to suffer for trying to help a friend who repays your good with evil. Avoid guaranteeing a stranger’s debt or standing surety for bail.
There are cases where those who stood sureties for bail forfeited the properties or money they pledged as collateral when the defendants flouted court orders or bail conditions. Make sure you think well and know people intimately before you stand guarantor or sureties for them. “He who is surety for a stranger will suffer, but one who hates being surety is secure” (Proverbs 11:15 New King James Version).
This means if you love being surety for someone else’s loan, you’ll be insecure. But you’ll enjoy your peace if you don’t stand as a guarantor for anyone. This scripture is not to encourage callousness because the next verse encourages generosity, which balances the previous verse. Verses 16-17 says, “A gracious and good woman attains honor, and ruthless men attain riches [but not respect]. The merciful and generous man benefits his soul [for his behavior returns to bless him], but the cruel and callous man does himself harm” (Amplified Bible).
Be careful of who you stand surety for. Proverbs 6:1-5 says, “My son, if you become surety for your friend, if you have shaken hands in pledge for a stranger, you are snared by the words of your mouth; you are taken by the words of your mouth. 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. Give no sleep to your eyes, nor slumber to your eyelids. Deliver yourself like a gazelle from the hand of the hunter, and like a bird from the hand of the fowler” (New King James Version).
To shake hands, strike hands, or join hands was an ancient form of entering into a contract. By that, the person pledged himself to be responsible for the debt of another. Proverbs 6:1-5, in the New Living Translation, reads thus: “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.”
This scripture is a warning not to put yourself in trouble or endanger your finances; it is not preaching against helping people. But before you help others by standing sureties for them, count the cost. There are other ways you can help people without necessarily jeopardizing your wellbeing. As I have said, some people are in trouble today because they stood guarantors for supposed friends who defaulted or somebody they did not know intimately and either ran away or refused to fulfill the agreement reached.
Proverbs 17:18 says, “A man devoid of understanding shakes hands in a pledge, and becomes surety for his friend” (New King James Version). The New Living Translation says it this way: “It is poor judgment to co-sign a friend’s note, to become responsible for a neighbor’s debts.” This scripture does not forbid becoming sureties for others but is talking about being wise in doing so. It is asking you to exercise caution.
The Bible also says in Proverbs 22:26-27, “Don’t agree to guarantee another person’s debt or put up security for someone else. If you can’t pay it, even your bed will be snatched from under you.” (New Living Translation).
Some people who stood guarantor for loans ended up repaying the loan. Don’t be sentimental trying to be a nice person and put yourself in avoidable trouble. Can you conveniently settle the bill on behalf of the person you want to stand guarantor for in case he defaults? As I’ve said, some people are in difficulty today because those whom they stood guarantor for a loan or surety for a bail defaulted.
Avoid sentiments when it comes to standing guarantor for people. Don’t let your love to be called a nice person or please people make you jeopardize your peace in case of default. Cases of guarantors eventually being in trouble are common. Don’t ignore the warnings given in the Bible. Don’t stand surety or guarantor for just anybody, especially somebody you don’t know intimately. Even if you know someone intimately, you may still be taking a risk! Think twice.
That’s why Proverbs 6:1-5 discourages co-signing a loan for a friend or guaranteeing the debt of someone you hardly know. The advice is that if you have trapped yourself by your agreement and you are caught by what you said, you should quickly get out of it if you possibly can; thereby saving yourself like a deer escaping from a hunter, like a bird fleeing from a net.
Proverbs 22:26-27 says, “Do not be one of those who shakes hands in a pledge, one of those who is surety for debts; Why should he take away your bed from under you?” (New King James Version). The New Living Translation puts it this way: “Do not co-sign another person’s note or put up a guarantee for someone else’s loan. If you can’t pay it, even your bed will be snatched from under you.”
If you’re going to stand guarantor, be sure you know the person truly well, and be reasonably certain that he won’t default. If not, be sure you have enough to pay back the loan yourself or face the consequences of his jumping bail! There may be no rest for you if the person you stand surety for defaults.
If someone stands guarantor or surety for you, don’t repay good with evil. Psalm 37:21 says the wicked borrow and never repay, but the godly are generous givers. Repay your debt or loan. Don’t put your guarantor or surety in trouble. Don’t jump bail. Don’t shut the door against others who will need help one day.
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit that you are a sinner, and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto You today. I know I am a sinner, and I cannot save myself. I believe Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: Holy Spirit, guide me and let me not be a foolish surety or guarantor. Let me not become surety to anyone who will put me in trouble. Help me to exercise caution. I will not repay good with evil; I will not, through selfishness and wickedness, put my guarantor or surety in trouble.
(For over 800 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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