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Thursday, January 20, 2011

Financial infidelity

One of the sensitive aspects of running for political office is
knowing that (in many cases) you may have to make known your financial
standing.  Most of us enjoy privacy when it comes to how much money we
have in the bank, what our income was last year, and how deeply in
debt we may be.  A candidate for high political office will likely
have to reveal some of that information.  A failure to be completely
honest will put that person's future in jeopardy.

Many seem not to know that the same truthfulness is needed in
marriage.  A Harris Interactive online poll of over 2,000 adults
showed that 31% had engaged in some degree of cover-up.  For some it
was hiding cash from their spouse (58%); others concealed a minor
purchase (51%).  15% of those confessing such "financial infidelity"
kept a secret bank account.

"Financial infidelity may be the new normal," commented,
who commissioned the study.  But let it be known there is another
truth to be considered.  "These indiscretions cause significant damage
to the relationship," said Ted Beck of the National Endowment for
Financial Education.  That doesn't qualify as a surprising
observation.  Most of us would be deeply hurt if we discovered our
spouse was hiding finances.  We would wonder what else was being kept
from us.

All marriages with which I am familiar are formed on the basis of vows
that both bride and groom make to each other.  Implicit in those vows
is the understanding that they will be as one, just as marriage was
designed to be.  "So then, they are no longer two but one flesh.
Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate," stated
Jesus in Matthew 19:6.

What would lead a husband or a wife to twist their vows in such a way?
In this case it's money.  The  Bible warns us to be aware of the
potential money has to lead us into dangerous territory.  This
statement is familiar to many: "For the love of money is a root of all
kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their
greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows" (1
Timothy 6:10).  If only more would heed the warning given by God's

The lure of drugs is well known.  We understand that we can become
addicted to certain drugs, and thus we are careful not to come under
their power.  The Bible, though, speaks of the lure of money in
similar terms.  Jesus compared materialism (greed) to idolatry: "No
one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love
the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other.
You cannot serve God and mammon" (Matthew 6:24).  (Mammon is another
word for money.)

Marriage offers us the opportunity to enjoy lifelong companionship and
intimacy; it is a gift from God.  The love of money, on the other
hand, has repeatedly been shown to have the power to destroy
relationships and lead people to do things they otherwise would not.
A choice has to be made: Do we need that faithful companion, or would
we rather reach for the cash?

Before you answer that last question, consider one more truth from
God's word: "Will you set your eyes on that which is not?  For riches
certainly make themselves wings; they fly away like an eagle toward
heaven" (Proverbs 23:5).  The Lord is trying hard to help us see the
best things in life.  Let us determine to be true to our vows, to be
completely honest with our spouses.  People are always more important
than things.
--Timothy D. Hall

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