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Christian Counseling - Money: A Conversational Taboo for Christians?

From a respected source I heard that in England some people are rather free to talk about their yearly income without bravado, pride or comparison. It seems to them a natural thing to talk about. In our Christian culture money talk is avoided, as if it's taboo. One of the consequences is that we are left with our own feelings, thoughts and conclusions about it and without support in understanding and managing our attitudes about it. Most often we hear money referenced as the root of all evil (1 Timothy 6:10). Further, that we should not love, covet or desire money, but be free from its power and temptation and be content with what we have (Hebrews 13:5). The implication that many make is that a spiritual person's concern about money should border on nonexistence, except to meagerly provide for himself. These interpretations and resultant beliefs contain truth and error. Take a moment and see if you can sort it out?

The truth is that money is "a" root of evil (NASB), but not "the" root of all evil. For example, people can wrongfully act with vengeance when hurt by someone, which has nothing to do with money. So it is for others who think they are superior and are prejudicial because of their heritage, talents or connections to important people. Desiring money is not a problem as long as it is not obsessive and so powerful as to cause a person to place it on a pedestal and change her behavior to the point of straying from faith, values and committed relationships. If a person thinks he should have no desire for money then he would not, in an employment interview, think of asking about salary and benefits. If a person should be unconditionally content with their income then they would not give a hoot about having enough to save for retirement.

If you think you care too much about money, first check out the level of your care with others. Perhaps your caring is appropriate, or, in the reverse, perhaps you care more than you realize. Getting feedback from a few trusted and knowledgeable others is necessary to confirm or challenge one's sense of reality. Second, if you determine you do care too much, cultivate the following attitudes and behaviors taken from 1 Timothy 6:

1.  Flee the over concern with money and pursue character--righteousness, godliness, love... (:11)
2.  Learn to be content with having food and clothing, but you can still reasonably pursue things (:8).
3.  Be rich in good works (:18).
4.  Be generous (:18).
5.  Be ready to share (:18).
6.  Do not be conceited because you have a goodly amount of money (:17).
7.  Do not fix your hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God (:17).

Also, it is important for a person to gain self-understanding about what money symbolized or means to him or her. Money can represent power, security, self-importance, freedom, etc. By attempting to meet the underlying need(s), the strength of the love of money can diminish, even quite dramatically.

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