How would we know that a person is righteous or wicked?
We will first define who is considered righteous. A righteous person is one who is a true believer of Christ as the only begotten Son of God, but still a sinner, for the Bible tells us that no one is sinless. It says bluntly that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23). “The LORD look down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God. They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy (stinking); there is none that doeth good, no, not one” (Psalm 14:2-3).
This is reiterated in Psalm 53:2-3, as follows: “God looks down from heaven on the entire human race; he looks to see if there is even one with real understanding, one who seeks for God. But no, all have turned away from God; all have become corrupt. No one does good, not even one!” (NLT). But when one hears the gospel (Good News of salvation by grace through believing in Jesus Christ as the Son of God and his Savior from sin) everything becomes new; old things become new. “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature’s old things are passed away; behold all things are become new” (2 Cor. 5:17). He has been born again. He is saved by grace (or undeserved favor from God) through faith in Jesus Christ. So then, a righteous man is a believer of Christ (God in person); a sinner saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ (Eph. 2:8-9).
One of the acid test of the righteousness of man is his manner or way of handling money. A righteous man (sinner save by grace) avoids borrowing, or if he borrows, he can’t sleep well if he is unable to repay. He is always thinking of paying his indebtedness, and he strives hard until he is able to pay. He is the one described in 2 Cor. 5:17 quoted above. The scripture also says: “Owe no man anything but to love one another; for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law” (Rom. 13:8).
On the other hand, a wicked person, borrows money but never intends to repay at all. He steals under the guise of borrowing. In Tagalog, “pagnakaw na harap-harapan” (In English, borrowing by robbery). Don’t misunderstand me. Not all borrowers are wicked persons. It is only the one who borrows and has no plans to pay at all.
This is how he Bible describes the acid test of determining who is righteous and never repay, but the godly are generous givers” (Psalm 37:21 NLT). The King James version (KJV) which is the version nearest to the original Greek word, is like this: “The wicked borroweth, and payeth not again: but the righteous showeth mercy, and giveth”.
A certain lawyer has a Chemical Engineer-client who had a younger brother, a Mechanical Engineer. The brother borrowed a substantial amount – more than a hundred thousand pesos from the Chemical Engineer-sister, and when payment was sought, he ignored to pay, saying: “salâ nimo kay nganong nagpahuram ka” (It is your fault why you lend me your money). The lawyer read to his client the King James version of Ps. 37:21, which says, “The wicked borroweth, and payeth not again: but the righteous sheweth mercy, and giveth” (Psalm 37:21 KJV), and the client remarked was: “Tinood gyud na Atty. kay pila na ka beses naghulam sa ako ang akong manghod, ug wala gyud siya nagbayad bisan usa ka centavo” (In English, that is true Atty. for my brother borrowed from me several times and he never paid any single cent).
The brother died last Sept. 30, 2012 with heavy indebtedness to lawyer’s client and to many other individuals and business establishment. Be wary of a borrower who is wicked!
(FGBMFI Davao City Chapter Bulletin, November 17, 2012)