My wife and I sat across from one another with our mouths hanging open as the mortgage lender told us how much house we could afford to buy. Wow, there it was, the kids had been given the keys to the candy store. I can’t tell you what my wife was thinking, but a wave of excitement rushed over me until that nasty little “B” word smacked me up side the head, you know the one – “Budget?”
And so it was several years ago in the midst of the American housing boom. Lenders everywhere were offering up the credit to buy more and more house for less and less money and the outlook never appeared brighter.
The wide-eyed buyers were buying, the lenders lending, the banks were bundling, and the Bond traders were trading. The American economy was chugging along like a 19th Century steam locomotive burning through cash like coal to keep it all moving. The only problem was that nagging little detail known as reality. The truth had been temporarily suspended, and when people checkout of reality, disaster is not far behind.
In fact, very little associated with the housing bubble was real and we had foolishly forgotten, debt building is not the same thing as wealth building. Now don’t get me wrong, this is not an attack on capitalism, but rather a sobering look at greed, debt and truth in relationship to economics.
In the Gospel of John 18:37-38 - Jesus confronted Pontius Pilot with this Truth, - “You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.” 38 “What is truth?” retorted Pilate. (NIV)
For thousands of years since God laid down His law in the Ten Commandments and Jesus came to confirm God’s perfect standard and himself as the only acceptable gateway into God’s eternal presence, people have questioned God’s absolute truth and tried to find ways around it.
And though absolute truth is simple to prove in the physical world with the Laws of Gravity and Thermodynamics, it is somewhat more dicey to prove to a non-believer that Jesus Christ and his physical presence here on earth was the ultimate confirmation of truth.
For the stubborn, the truth of God’s word can be like a brick wall that we eventually run into when trying to live outside of reality. Debt is the reality of purchasing beyond our means. The truth of debt manifested is still slavery, whether a physical chain around our neck, or the spiritual weight of the obligation for which we owe.
While many may argue against the truth of Jesus Christ, none will find a “leg to stand on” with the practical application of His laws either spiritually, or in the realm of logic or fundamental execution.
Perhaps one of the clearest and most relevant examples in recent history of why the absence of truth has real world consequences is the global economic disaster of 2008 which is still not over yet.
Up until 1993, it was a sizeable hurdle to get a mortgage on a home. You had to prove stable employment, provide a sizable down payment, and have the appropriate level of income to buy a home proportionally measured to your ability to repay the loan and still be able to eat and pay your other bills.
It was in 1993 that much of this began to change through Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity legislation at the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The assignment from the Clinton Administration was to increase home ownership among minority’s and the poor.
In 1995, “Ninja” Loans (No income, no job, no assets) as they became commonly referred to in the financial world made their way into the public marketplace. The adjustable rate, interest only loan was made available so people could get more house for their money in the hope their income would eventually catch up.
The result was a catastrophic number of home foreclosures that left the world’s economy in a shambles and our own future freedom in jeopardy.
From the least to the greatest in our world-wide community we are now fully engaged in trying to recover from a disaster we were all fully engaged in creating. It appears that truth in the economy has returned to our doorstep on Reality Avenue and like the harassing collection agency, it is now demanding its due!
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