I have a passionate dislike for the credit reporting and scoring system in our country. Not for the usual reason though. My credit has not been an issue for a long time. Rather, I find it unfortunate that our society revolves so heavily around the system. Because we are a nation of consumers, perhaps more accurately a nation of spenders, our identity has become closely tied to our credit score. A “good” person has a good credit score. We have placed our value and self-worth in the hands of the credit reporting agencies.
These agencies act as the arbiter of good and bad. They have in a way become a god. They issue blessings and curses and we cower in their presence. They use to decide whether we were worthy to buy a car or a house. But these gods’ power has expanded. Now they determine who gets to rent an apartment, get water and utilities and sometimes who gets the job. We are all a bunch of walking numbers.
Since we have become our score, and credit has extended far beyond its origins of evaluating risk in extending credit, it is not easy to suggest we just buck the system. If it only evaluated ability to borrow I would say “who cares?!” We could purposely live within our means and never need a dime of credit from a lender. But now that it has crept into numerous areas of our lives it cannot be ignored. To some degree we must live within the system to avoid being disadvantaged by it.
In basic terms it requires that we pay our bills on time. Obviously there is nothing wrong with that. It also may mean finding various ways of building good credit without using credit. Some people take out a credit card to use for purchases they would make with cash anyway. Then they turn around and pay the credit card balance off right away. That works for some who can be disciplined and deliberate about not carrying a balance on the card. Temptation to overspend could become a real issue for others though.
In a world where credit is so valuable, it is easy to see why some may wish to steal yours to get access to additional resources. Identity Theft is a growing problem and younger people are victims all the time. There is certainly no way to buck the system when your identity is stolen. The banks who lent to someone with your name and social security number want their money back and they are holding you responsible. You have to think about ways to protect yourself.
Being careful with your personal information is one way. Don’t give it out to just anyone and don’t give others easy access to it through your phone, wallet or trash. It is also a great idea to monitor your credit for fraudulent activity. While most companies want to charge you to see your credit report and score, you can get a free credit report once a month through www.creditkarma.com. It is a truly free service and you can ignore any offers they make you for credit cards and other stuff.
Most importantly, remember where your true identity lies. It is not in your credit score or in the financial mistakes you make. God’s word says, “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation” and those outside of Christ,” their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself” (2 Cor. 5:17; Phil 3:19-21).
Our citizenship is in another kingdom and our credit is no good in His economy. We should take a greater interest in obtaining our self-worth in that kingdom because our ultimate identity is in Christ. Let’s be sure to protect it most of all.