How to proceed when the person intentionally delays to pay you back the debt?

After publishing the article “How to behave when friends want to borrow money from you?” I got this question:

How to proceed if the person intentionally delays to pay you back the debt?

Even before we lend some money to someone, we should think at what the Lord Jesus said:

If you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners in order to receive back the same amount. But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will besons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men. (Luke 6:34-35)(NASB)

In the Old Testament, God gave these laws to the people Israel:

At the end of every seven years you shall grant a remission of debts. This is the manner of remission: every creditor shall release what he has loaned to his neighbor; he shall not exact it of his neighbor and his brother, because the LORD’S remission has been proclaimed. From a foreigner you may exact it, but your hand shall release whatever of yours is with your brother. However, there will be no poor among you, since the LORD will surely bless you in the land which the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance to possess, if only you listen obediently to the voice of the LORD your God, to observe carefully all this commandment which I am commanding you today. For the LORD your God will bless you as He has promised you, and you will lend to many nations, but you will not borrow; and you will rule over many nations, but they will not rule over you. If there is a poor man with you, one of your brothers, in any of your towns in your land which the LORD your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart, nor close your hand from your poor brother; but you shall freely open your hand to him, and shall generously lend him sufficient for his need in whatever he lacks. Beware that there is no base thought in your heart, saying, ‘The seventh year, the year of remission, is near,’ and your eye is hostile toward your poor brother, and you give him nothing; then he may cry to the LORD against you, and it will be a sin in you. You shall generously give to him, and your heart shall not be grieved when you give to him, because for this thing the LORD your God will bless you in all your work and in all your undertakings. For the poor will never cease to be in the land; therefore I command you, saying, ‘You shall freely open your hand to your brother, to your needy and poor in your land.’ (Deuteronomy 15:1-11)(NASB)

There are some important principles to learn from this text regarding the situations when we have to lend to someone:

  • God has appointed for the people of Israel that at the end of every seven years they shall grant a remission of debts, so it is good and pleasing to God to forgive debts when someone can not pay back. (The Lord Jesus taught us to think about this option beforehand, even when we lend money or other important thing)
  • If the debt was not returned on time, you only had to wait until the seventh year, and then forgive the debt.
  • The people of Israel were allowed to exact from the foreigners to return the debt.
  • It is again repeated that being able to lend to others is a blessing.
  • Do not harden your heart and do not close your hand against your needy brother, so that you give him nothing for fear that he will not return.
  • If you can lend to your brother, but you do not, for fear that he will not return, you sin.
  • Lend to your poor brother and you shall not be grieved when you give to him.
  • Because you help and lend to your poor brother, God will bless you in all your undertakings.

It’s good both for the borrower and the lender to think about these holy words:

The wicked borrows and does not pay back, but the righteous is gracious and gives. For those blessed by Him will inherit the land, but those cursed by Him will be cut off. The steps of a man are established by the LORD, and He delights in his way. When he falls, he will not be hurled headlong, because the LORD is the One who holds his hand. I have been young and now I am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken or his descendants begging bread. (Psalm 37:21-25)(NASB)

Translated by Felicia Rotaru