For Sale – Part 6

ManYellingAtWomanOur realtor friend Lori called and told me about a young woman, Katie, who is an abused 26-year-old mother of three. She lives with a boyfriend who fathered one of her kids. While Katie is at work her boyfriend smokes and drinks her paycheck so she has no money to buy food. When she is at home he abusively yells at her. He has some sort of condition which affects his moods and he is apparently under-medicated. We didn’t want to take on the burden of giving a fourth large loan but we can and someone needs help that we can give without extending ourselves too far.

Lori described how Katie broke down and cried when looking at what is her dream house. My eye sees a fixer upper that is worth more than the asking price. My wife Cathy actually wanted us to buy this particular house for us to live in. Part 7, the last in this series, will describe where we decided to live and why.

We agreed to help without ever meeting Katie. In this case the house is a good investment. Yesterday, in Part 5, Bill the vet was what we are investing in. We did meet Katie at closing and she is a lovely person worthy of our help. I have no idea how she handles her money or her bills and we will take that as it comes. We like the property so it is a no brainer looking at this purely as an investment.

I’m having a very mild moral dilemma with what we are doing here. I have now covered four instances where we are taking a household with financial and other life problems and putting them in a better place. No problem there. But from another perspective are we not preying on people in need for our financial advantage? Are we not being predatory?

I frequently preach that paying interest is wrong. For God’s sake the Bible forbids it! I guess Bill’s evaluation of me is correct, that I see things in black and white, but when it comes down to it I can compromise. The terms of all four promissory notes allow for paying off the loan in part or in full and I have assured each party that if they find a better deal they should take it, nothing personal. I guess that’s the best I can do.

3 thoughts on “For Sale – Part 6

  1. This house is an awesome investment. The house directly across the street was just listed at $140,000. Sure, the 3 car garage needs a new roof, and the house needs either paint or siding, but things like adding insulation have been done already. Classic homes like this with 2 bathrooms are rare in town and sell for a premium, especially in this original “best neighborhood” in town. This is a home Katie will be happy and proud to have forever.

  2. I’m not a Bible scholar, by any means, but I have studied it a good bit. What the Bible forbids is “usury” which, technically, is exorbitant interest (the kind credit cards or payday loan places charge). If you are meeting someone’s needs and charging a fair price, even if some interest is involved, I would not say you are violating Scripture. If you want a black-and-white law, my church denomination use to give individual churches loans and charge 1% below prime.

    • I have looked at the passage in question from a number of translations. I tend to avoid the King James because I am not an Elizabethan English scholar; while the “thees” and “thous” might be poetic and religious to some, such terms as “secrets” as when two men battle if his wife were to grab her husband’s opponent by the “secrets” then she shall be put to death. It takes a careful reading to assume correctly that these “secrets” are genitalia.

      As such, in reading different translations sometimes the word “usury” is applied as you are implying and in still others the word “interest” is used instead. My own interpretation of all this is to not take advantage.

      According to my wife Cathy the greatest mitzvah (roughly, good deed) one can do is to make someone’s life better. That I have done in each of the four cases I have discussed in this series. I’m at peace with what I have done and how I did and am doing it. One lady had to take a leave of absence from work and had to skip a month which she said she would make up for the payment the next. I told her to skip two months without penalty and no interest would accrue, we would just push the loan back two months. I would like to see banks do similar things instead of chomping at the bit to take property away from the needy in hard times.

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