You don’t do foolish things, do you? Naw, no way. You don’t ever make a promise or enter into an agreement that was not thought out and one in which you probably will come out the loser. Nope, never.
Solomon knew that you would have a tendency to do just that. So, he passed on words of advice just for you in this circumstance.
My son, if you have put up security for your neighbor,
if you have struck hands in pledge for another,
if you have been trapped by what you said,
ensnared by the words of your mouth,
then do this, my son, to free yourself,
since you have fallen into your neighbor’s hands:
Go and humble yourself;
press your plea with your neighbor!
Allow no sleep to your eyes,
no slumber to your eyelids.
Free yourself, like a gazelle from the hand of the hunter,
like a bird from the snare of the fowler. (Proverbs 6:1-5 NIV)
These verses can be rather difficult to interpret, I’ll admit. So I’ll also post the paraphrased version from The Message:
Dear friend, if you’ve gone into hock with your neighbor or locked yourself into a deal with a stranger,
If you’ve impulsively promised the shirt off your back
and now find yourself shivering out in the cold,
Friend, don’t waste a minute, get yourself out of that mess.
You’re in that man’s clutches!
Go, put on a long face; act desperate.
there’s no time to lose.
Run like a deer from the hunter,
fly like a bird from the trapper!
Why is this wrong? Because you could (more likely than not) come out on the losing end of this one.
Looking at the first verse of this, you don’t put yourself and ultimately your family in the hands of strangers all for someone else. This is not talking about saving your neighbor’s life or such. This is co-signing a loan and such. You just don’t do that and risk your own that God has given you to be a steward of.
Do you act impulsively at all? There are a few you don’t, but odds are that you periodically act impulsively. When you act like that, you 99.999999% of the time come out on the losing end. And don’t think that the other person will have compassion to see how rash you acted and forgive the promise. Odds are they won’t. Think before you speak is and very wise saying it seems. It can be hard to do, but can be done.
When you find yourself in such a situation, you need to get out fast. Very fast. Note what words, Solomon uses here. He says to plead. Don’t try to find another quick fix or a smooth outlet. Don’t sin by coming up with schemes and lies. Plead honestly and get out of the situation. If it early enough in the agreement, it might be much easier than you think.
If pleading doesn’t seem to work, go to your spiritual mentor and seek guidance. You never know what words of wisdom God will give them.
If you have a tendency to be rash, work your with your mentor on ways that you can improve that. This is very important to you and those around you.