As we approach the election we thought we would complete this series on Trump and Economics in the Gospels first began in 2017.
Not surprisingly, borrowing and lending are well represented in the Gospels, and would put the world economic order on its head if followed to the letter.
Matthew 5:42 Give to the one who asks you, and do not reject the one who wants to borrow from you.
Trump supporters generally point to the economy as one of his top accomplishments over the past four years and why they voted for him to begin with. They point to his China policy, deregulation, manufacturing, jobs, and commerce in general. Unfortunately for Trump apologists GDP growth, employment, deficits, and the national debt, have all taken big hits under his term; much caused by the pandemic, some not.
Of course, modern economic policy and tools didn’t exist in Roman times - no printing presses printing trillions of drachmas in Caesar’s basement - though taxation and debt certainly did.
Without credit and debt, the modern economic system would be unrecognizable. So much more debt to foster so much more commerce. 2.000 years later can we see the derivative effects on our ecology from these passages? Commerce and the environment rarely seem to benefit harmoniously.
Forgiveness seems like a rather quaint concept that has little reality in a business or economic context. But forgiveness of debts is commonplace. Just declare bankruptcy, accept the drop in your credit rating, and move on, as many are today. It is also normal for countries and large economic enterprises to turn the other cheek, so long as there are economic payoffs in doing so.
Luke 6:35 But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to ungrateful and evil people.
Lend and expect nothing back? In many ways our laws actually inculcate these Gospel teachings…and Trump has taken full advantage. As a real estate developer, he certainly borrows lots of money, at least through his companies. And his business failures have shown that the legal system often allows debts to be excused – and forgiven nonpayers to come out smelling like roses – and still rich. In fact, Trump’s experience with bankruptcy law was sighted as a good reason to vote for him in the first place by many.
6:12 and forgive us our debts, as we ourselves have forgiven our debtors.