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SIH’s Think On These Things: Proverbs 11:15

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SIH TOTT ICONHe layeth up sound wisdom for the righteous (Prov 2:7)

Wisdom’s Great Gain: Conscientious Indebtedness: Proverbs 11:15

15) He that is surety for a stranger shall smart [for it]: and he that hateth suretiship is sure.


15) He that is surety for a stranger shall smart [for it]: and he that hateth suretiship is sure.
1.  A person who gives security for a stranger shall be badly scarred as a result.
2.  A person who is an enemy of giving security for another can be trusted.

Several points need to be mentioned in the context of the above restrictions:

First of all, we see the need to avoid becoming surety for “a stranger”.  Keep in mind, previously, in Proverbs 6:1-5, we saw that suretyship should be avoided in the case of friends and acquaintances as well.  This helps us to understand that in ALL situations, becoming a co-signer is a very serious decision that is never to be taken lightly in any way.

Many times, people justify becoming a co-signer on the debt of another by describing it as an act of love and kindness toward the indebted one.  However, by refusing to increase indebtedness by becoming surety is also act of love for others because:

1.  It is showing love to the borrower –

By denying security for debt, we are encouraging the would-be borrower to think twice about the dangers of indebtedness, and the ramifications that can come from it.  It also makes them consider the importance of prioritizing their spending habits and discerning between their “wants” versus “needs”

In many cases, if a person needs someone else to be a “co-signer” on debt, it is because the amount of debt he is taking upon himself is too high.  By refusing to guarantee their debt, we are stopping them from taking on excessive debt and risk.

Also, there are times when the necessity of a co-signer can be avoided by patience, Godly labor and prioritizing of finances.  By denying security, it is encouraging the would-be borrower to apply these Scriptural principles to their financial situation.

2.  It is showing love to those relying upon us –

If we co-sign on a debt we are placing added responsibility and financial requirements upon ourselves.  If the indebted one fails to pay their debt, it falls upon us thereby hurting those who are relying upon us for the supply of their needs.

3.  It is showing love to other Christians around us –

Wisdom tells us that it is, in most cases, unwise to enter into debt of any kind (Prov 22:7).  By refusing to become a co-signer, we are setting a good example for everyone that sees us to be very careful about taking debt upon ourselves and the general use of our finances.

4.  It is showing love to the Lord –

By avoiding debt, we are keeping our finances “freed up” to support the work of the Lord being done by His servants.  How often are Christians who are loaded down with indebtedness unable to give sacrificially to the Lord as they would desire.

Also, keep in mind, avoiding becoming security for another is an act of obedience (and therefore an act of love and honor) to the Lord.

All of these reasons helps us to understand why Solomon then tells us we are to “hate” becoming a surety.

A man void of understanding striketh hands, [and] becometh surety in the presence of his friend.”   (Proverbs 17:18)

Take his garment that is surety [for] a stranger: and take a pledge of him for a strange woman.”   (Proverbs 20:16)

Be not thou [one] of them that strike hands, [or] of them that are sureties for debts.  If thou hast nothing to pay, why should he take away thy bed from under thee?”   (Proverbs 22:26-27)


In the above verse we have seen the very important need to take becoming surety for another a very important decision that in most cases should be avoided.  This decision is to be made with a prayerful attitude seeking the Lord’s will and remembering the many ways that refusing to become surety is a declaration of our love for others.

Please remember, if we find ourselves in a situation of becoming surety for another Proverbs 6:1-5 gives detailed instructions of what we are to do to remedy the situation.  Please refer to for these teachings.

By God’s grace, let us all study these proverbs diligently, giving them the value that they deserve.

May the Lord bless us as we receive this sound wisdom and then “Think On These Things”.

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  1. SLIMJIM says:

    Someone once said that the last that converts in a Christian life is his checkbook. I think our use of money shows our spiritual life and priorities. Thank you for this post.

  2. Debbie says:

    Thank you for showing us how not becoming surety is really an act of love for another. God bless you, Pastor Rob!

  3. I agree that we should likely not encourage more debt in another…however in special circumstances if the debt already exists and we are helping another close to us to obtain a surety at a much lesser interest rate and the person is of trustworthy nature…we would and have done this…While not everyone would I believe, if it is done with much thought it can be the right thing to do…Diane

  4. Thanks for showing that saying ‘no’ is/can be an act of love.

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