COLUMN: Bills, unwanted news often cause ‘mailbox blues’

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By Jon Rohr

When I was a kid I used to love running out to check the mail. It seemed like Christmas every day; there could be anything in there. There were catalogs with all the exciting new things that looked so wonderful, sometimes even a letter from family far away. And sometimes there would even be a package and that made it especially like Christmas.
But then I grew up and the mail got a lot less interesting. All the junk mail really is just junk mail and let’s face it, very few people send letters much anymore. But the bills keep on coming, the water bill, the electric bill, the cable bill, you name it. From car payments to insurance payments, from credit cards to cell phone bills, it seems we can’t get away from them.
For a few years it seemed that the mailbox was the enemy, bringing more bills than I needed or wanted or could even afford to pay. But then I began to learn what the Bible says about money and about being in debt. Did you know that the Bible talks a lot about how we handle our finances? Not that the Bible is all about money, but money and debt can sure be problems for us if we are not wise.
One of my new favorite verses is Romans 13:8, “Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another…” (NIV). The King James puts it this way, “Owe no man anything but to love one another…” For the last 10 years or more, my wife and I have tried to pay attention to that verse. We do our best to live without any debt but to show love and compassion to others.
It isn’t easy these days. There is always somebody wanting to give you a new credit card, some reason to buy a new car, but we try to resist those temptations. Did you know that some car companies now offer 10-year loans? Or how about this, if you have a credit card and pay minimum payments on a $1,000 loan, it can take more than 18 years and cost over $1,700.
The Lord knew long ago that we could very easily bury ourselves in debt. He didn’t want us to be overwhelmed by debt, so he warned us and gave us practical principles to live by. And if we’ll trust and follow him, he’ll help us get a handle on our finances.
Sure, there are still those monthly bills, but controlling debt sure takes away the mailbox blues. You don’t have to worry about the credit card surprise every month, or especially the after Christmas bomb. And isn’t it more fun to open a mailbox full of Christmas cards than a mailbox full of bills?