Proverbs 11:5

The one who puts up security for a stranger will surely have trouble,
but whoever avoids shaking hands will be secure.

Have you ever loaned something to someone you don’t really know and never gotten it back? It can be really frustrating. I’ve loaned out books, never to see them again. We’ve loaned out tools, only to have them come back broken. It can be a real pain.

But, the pain of this proverb is much deeper than just loaning out a thing and never getting it back. What this is talking about is more along the lines of loaning out your reputation. If you put your name on the line for someone else’s loan or deal of some kind – you better know them inside and out. You better have a way to make sure they’re going to make good on what they say – if not – it’s going to be your reputation and your money on the line.

That’s why you never co-sign a loan for a stranger. That’s why you don’t co-sign a cell phone contract or credit card agreement for a stranger. If the person doesn’t live up to their end of the contract, the people wanting their money are going to come looking for you.

In fact, the proverb goes on to say whoever avoids shaking hands will be secure. Or, whoever avoids making contracts will be secure. If you don’t sign contracts with people, so you end up owing people money, they won’t every come looking for you to collect! Seems simple doesn’t it? If you never enter into an agreement or contract with anyone, you won’t have anything to worry about. There won’t be any members of the mob waiting for you in a dark alley, no overdue stamps pounded on your credit card bills and no people calling you and harassing you to get their money out of you.

Real security comes from making good decisions. Real security comes from living the Proverbious life. And according to today’s proverb, the way to life that life is to not make deals with strangers, and to avoid contracts all together. Yes we want to be able to help out our friends and neighbors by loaning them tools and books and stuff. However, we shouldn’t think we are helping our friends when we are helping them make a bad financial decision. If they don’t have good enough credit to get their own whatever – you probably don’t want your name attached to them either.