I. Heart. Money.

I believe if you were to ask a lot people if they loved money, generally speaking, they would probably say "yes." They might add a disclaimer to their affirmation, but their answer would essentially still boil down to a yes. And why not? Money gets you so many things. It allows you to do everything from putting food on the table, to gaining political power and influence. Money, they even say, makes the world go round.

Money is greatly celebrated in our culture. Hip-hop and rap artists frequently make songs about it, and feature it as an important "prop" in their music videos. They show that money is the key to getting bling and having a nice "life." Money is so important to us as a nation that we even have entire cable channels, like CNBC and Fox Business News, dedicated to around the clock coverage of news stories and shows that focus on nothing but money related issues.

Some of us would deny having an intense love for money. But our hearts otherwise betray us. "It's just a tool," we say. Few things will spark more emotion from people than money. Research has shown that money is the primary thing that married couples tend to fight over most, and money problems have resulted in many people who otherwise had an intense romantic love for one another getting a divorce.

A comedian once said "Getting a divorce is like getting your heart ripped out through your wallet." Many men jokingly lament that it's always, "cheaper to keep her." And often, when a divorce happens, at least one person is forced to go through bankruptcy court in addition to divorce court.

I can't personally relate to getting divorced, but I remember this one time I was in a long term relationship that went bad. I remember that one of the first thoughts that entered my head shortly after we broke up was "this sucks... but on a brighter note, I'll finally be able to save some money." I was shocked that this thought entered my head so quickly after the event. My wallet suddenly felt a little bit better. Benjamin Franklin's make for great tissues in which to dry our tears upon. It's a funny thing how money comforts us and touches us on an emotional level.

For example, I work in the financial services industry at a really big national bank. In a prior position, I had to fly all over the country and participate in many court facilitated conferences to try and help people who were having financial troubles. I know from first-hand experience that I've never seen people get more emotional than when I sat down as a bank rep, to have a "heart to heart," with people over their financial challenges.

I'm a super nice guy, and to my recollection, I can't ever recall saying anything to anybody in my entire life that inflicted so much pain in their hearts so as to make anybody cry. I care about people and geniunely love them. But when I went to court to talk to people about restructuring their finances, sometimes I had to have some very difficult conversations with individuals, and those conversations sometimes made people extremely upset, to the point they busted out in tears, which stopped court proceedings, as people had to be excused so that they could collect themselves.

But I can relate. I remember a time when I was going through my own money troubles. My income was very low, but my bills were very high, and I didn't have the ability to make all of my ends meet. I was single, and didn't have to take care of anybody but me. If I got kicked out of my apartment for failing to pay rent, I always had parents who loved me and would be more than glad to let me move back in with them. I had little to lose, except my dignity and pride. But in spite of this, I regularly lost sleep, as I couldn't do anything but stay up and worry about my money woes. I was full of so much worry... and all over money.

As it also turns out, worrying about money isn't a problem only poor people have. People who are well-off and wealthy worry about money too. One millionare I knew once told me that to him, "a million dollars represents a million problems." First, he has to make sure the money is stored in a safe location so that somebody doesn't just steal it. So he puts the money in a bank. Then while in the bank, he has to make sure inflation doesn't eat up his hard earned savings like a moth eats a sweater. So he has to make sure he invests his money in financial instruments that will gain enough earnings to protect him from inflation, but at the same time, make sure he limits his exposure to the market, so as to not become poor overnight because of a stock market crash. Then of course, he has to worry about his children never growing up and becoming financially independent, because they look at their father as a cash cow, and are ready to seize his assets as soon as he dies. His money, which appears to be a great blessing to many, is a potential disaster waiting to happen.

Rich and poor, we all tend to worry about money. And reflecting on these things, I tend to think as human beings that we only worry about those things which we love and care about. And if we find ourselves worrying regularly about money, I think it might be due to the fact that we have an attachment to it that is greater than the purpose of paying our bills, and putting food in our bellies. We worry about money because we love it. But the end, this thing that we love so much often ends up destroying us.

No wonder the Bible is full of warnings about money. Warnings, I think we as Christians living in America would do well to seriously consider. Money is often made out to be a merely neutral thing, a mere tool of many different tools in our shed. But the more I read the Bible, the more I become convinced that money is not the neutral thing that it appears to be. And in my experience, those who frequently point out that money is merely a tool, tend to be the individuals that love money the most. And "the love of money," which consumes so many of us, truly ends up "consuming" us in the end.

No wonder Jesus said it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. While we probably all wish that the only temptation we suffered in this life was the problem of having too much money, in reality, being "blessed" with a surplus of greenbacks and gold tends to only plunge us into the worst of possible problems.

We often see this with people who win the lottery and become multi-millionaires overnight. Even people who win hundreds of millions of dollars end up seeing their lives wrecked as a result. This has happened with so many people that there is said to be a "lottery curse."

Or consider TV shows like "The People's Court" or "Judge Judy." See how many people on those shows end up suing close family members and friends over a few bucks. Such suits often destroy the deeply woven bonds of people with long histories. And all over a few bucks that most people would have never missed to begin with! But money became more important to them than the relationships they had. They were wronged out of their money, so they sued somebody they loved, as a matter of "principle." So they went to court all over something as silly as money, and lost a friend or family member for the rest of their lives in the process.

In the end, the love of money destroys us and those around us. It is no wonder that Jesus said the love of money will cause so many people to lose their own souls. It truly is the root of all sorts of evil. Money is something we would do well to purge from our hearts, and it is something we would do well to never chase.

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