Four Money Sins You May Be Committing (Part 1)

Psychologists are beginning to recognize the money sins that the scriptures have spoken of all along. In 2011, Brad Klontz and a team of researchers from Kansas State University conducted a survey and identified 4 abhorrent mindsets associated the accumulation of wealth and money. These were designated as the “Klontz Money Scripts.” Their findings were published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Financial Therapy.

These Klontz Money Scripts, as they are called, can be associated with four sins the bible identifies that are associated with money. The four money scripts were identified as money avoidance, money worship, money status, and money vigilance. These can be compared to the money sins of ingratitude, greed, covetousness, and selfishness.

  • Guard Against These

    These abhorrent attitudes toward money have been identified by psychological researchers, but have parallels in scripture.

  • Ingratitude

    Ingratitude, while seemingly a minor sin, quickly leads to more serious rebellion against God. (See Romans 1:21 NKJV)

  • Greed

    Greed, as I am defining it, is a lack of dependence on God and instead, is worship of money.

  • Covetousness

    The desire of your neighbor's possessions is the sin of covetousness and may lead to envy, resentment, theft, etc.

  • Selfishness

    When we hoard our money for ourselves and fail to be generous we are guilty of selfishness.

 

The Money Sin of Ingratitude

The first money script identified by Klontz and his team was avoidance. People with this attitude were anxious, fearful, or repulsed by having more money than they needed for basic existential needs. The avoidance money script is comparable to the first of these money sins, ingratitude. While the Bible teaches us that we should be content with enough for food and clothing, we shouldn’t shun what God graciously provides. Instead, we should be thankful to God for any financial blessings that he wishes to bestow on us

Some believe that “money is the root of all evil.” Rather than managing the money God provides wisely, they will overspend, lose, or give it away to remove it from their control. They think that wasting money is a form of piety.

The Bible never says that “money is the root of all evil.” Rather, it says, “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” – 1 Timothy 6:10 NKJV. Material wealth is a blessing from God. “As for every man to whom God has given riches and wealth, and given him power to eat of it, to receive his heritage and rejoice in his labor–this is the gift of God.” – Ecclesiastes 5:19 NKJV.

We should be grateful to God that gives to us abundantly so that we have excess to share with others. Every gift that God gives should be received with thanksgiving and should not be rejected or shunned. “Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!” – 2 Corinthians 9:15 NKJV. If God gives you an excess, avoid falling for the temptations of the money sins and receive it with gratitude.

The Money Sin of Greed

The second money script is worship. This is equivalent to the money sin of greed. Klontz found that some people mistakenly put their trust in their money. They believed that money would make them safe, secure, and happy. However, research shows that while poverty can create misery, money does not make people any happier beyond a salary of $75,000 or more annually.

Once you have enough to purchase a comfortable lifestyle, anything above that does not make you happier. Wealthy people report more cases of depression and discontent. Greedy money worshippers may overspend and run up large credit card balances. They tend to take greater risks and gamble compulsively.

Not surprisingly, the Klontz team found this wrongful mindset to be the most prevalent among Americans. Though the people of the United States have the greatest opportunities to build wealth and prosper, we often are more greedy than our poorer brothers in other countries. We should remember what Paul tells his protégé, Timothy, “Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy.” – 1 Timothy 6:17 NKJV.

Greed by itself is not unforgivable. However, it can lead to a rejection of the Lord’s grace and endanger our souls. Consider these words of the Lord Jesus, “And the disciples were astonished at His words. But Jesus answered again and said to them, “Children, how hard it is for those who trust in riches to enter the kingdom of God!” – Mark 10:24 NKJV.  Be careful to avoid falling into greed.

The Money Sin of Covetousness

The third money script is status. People with this unhealthy outlook equate their self-worth with their status. These are the people who strive to “keep up with the Jones.” Even though these people tend to be hard-working, they generally are less educated and tend to work in blue-collar careers.

I believe the status script equates to the money sin of covetousness. When we compare our status with our neighbors’ and desire the material accoutrements that they have, we are guilty of coveting their possessions. Our self-worth should be based on what God thinks of us and not the balance in our bank account.

The danger of covetousness is that it may lead to other money sins, like resentment, jealousy, envy, and even hatred or theft. This is why God has spoken so strongly against it. It is difficult to love others as we love ourselves when we secretly are jealous of their achievements and accomplishments. But we should not seek our neighbor’s blessings or compare ourselves to them.

Instead, we should trust God to provide all that we need. “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” – Matthew 6:31-33 NKJV.

God blesses us with all things for our enjoyment. Instead of fighting with your neighbor over his possessions, we should merely ask God for what need. “You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask.” – James 4:2 NKJV.

The Money Sin of Selfishness

The final money script is vigilance. I equate this with selfishness. The researchers described people who are secretive about their finances. They often hide their account information even from their spouse. They squirrel money away in various accounts and even in the cookie jar. They rarely open credit accounts because they don’t want to disclose their financial information on the applications.

The Bible speaks of avoiding a show of our generosity and “blowing the trumpet” to announce our philanthropy. “But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly.” – Matthew 6:3-4 NKJV

We are not talking about that here. Selfish people do not make a show of their giving. They hide their money so that they can keep it all themselves. They feel security from having money. Instead of giving, they become miserly.

God says the way to financial security is generosity. Generosity covers a multitude of money sins. “But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.” – 2 Corinthians 9:6-8 NKJV Also, “Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.”– Luke 6:38 NKJV.

Conclusion

Money sins not only war against our souls, they also keep us from fulfilling God’s purpose for our lives. Guard your hearts against these sins and your bank account will be healthier as a result.

For more insights into managing your money, refer to my e-book, Financially Faithful. Or, you can check out a related post by Rebecca, here. If you have specific questions or comments, simply add them to the comments below. I am happy to address anything that is unclear or confusing to you. Also, you have an opportunity to teach me. If you have anything to add, post it in the comments for me and my other readers. Your feedback makes this article better.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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