Are you Knowingly Investing into a Financial Scam or Pyramid Scheme?
As I write this blog, I am deeply concerned about an investment scam that has penetrated the Slavic community in our state. Though some are unaware that the company is just that – a scam, many investors have already come to the realization that it is a scam, but, continue to “promote” it, in hopes of at least getting their initial investment returned.
Anytime a financial scam or pyramid scheme is organized, the first “investors” do win, otherwise, if no one were profiting, there would be no new investors! What deeply concerns me is that Christians, who realize it’s a scam which will sooner or later bankrupt families and individuals, continue to support, invest and promote that scam, just to get their investment returned.
If it is too good to be true, it probably isn’t true!
For those looking to debate with me whether or not a certain company is a scam – that’s not my expertise. Be wise where and with whom you invest, and know that there IS NO easy money to be made. This blog is geared toward those, who knowingly invest into a scam. Much of the text and scriptures below come from a blog posted on BibleResources.org here: http://bibleresources.org/pyramid-schemes/
There are ethical and scriptural reasons why Christians should not participate in pyramid schemes:
- Many are illegal. The operators of the schemes will often tell people that they are legal. They will also fight charges in court to delay the legal process from shutting them down, because the longer they keep going, the more money they make.
- The Bible says “Be not deceived, God is not mocked, whatsoever a man sows, that he shall also reap” (Galatians 6:7). If you sow your time, energy or money into a program that ultimately causes financial loss, suffering and confusion to others, even if you made money temporarily, you will ultimately reap suffering, confusion and financial loss as a result. The basic mathematics of these programs necessitates that there will be many times more people losing than gaining money.
- Jesus said, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” (Matthew 7:12). We would not want anyone to get us involved in any endeavor, which would cause us financial loss. Therefore, as believers, we should not entice other people into a pyramid program which may cause them to experience financial loss. Is it really worth destroying relationships with people you know over love for money?
- Proverbs 22:1 says, “A good name is better than great riches.” If you participate in an unethical pyramid program, you are damaging your good name. People will begin to mistrust your motives. They will see you as a person who’s willing to take advantage of them in order to bring profit to yourself.
- The love of money motivates people to care more about self-interests than their neighbors or brothers. All pyramid programs will end up burning more people than they help. The basic mathematics of these programs necessitates that there will be many times more people losing than gaining money. That great majority of people will feel hurt, used, and abused. They will be disappointed and lose trust in anyone who got them involved in these programs. “The love of money is the root of all sorts of evil” (1 Timothy 6:10). As Christians, we should be promoting righteousness, peace, and joy. Our relationships should be built on love and trust.
- The Bible says, “You must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat” (1 Corinthians 5:11). Swindlers take advantage of other people’s weaknesses to make money for themselves. Greedy people are motivated by a desire for personal gain at others’ expense. Covetousness is a form of idolatry (Colossians 3:5). We should flee such unrighteousness.
- “Those who do not work should not eat” (2 Thessalonians 3:10). The desire to make money without working for it is an unrighteous desire. God uses work to build and shape our character. He delights in providing for those who put His Kingdom and His Righteousness first. Some people talk about using wealth that they are going to gain from pyramid schemes or gambling to promote God’s Kingdom. God’s Kingdom is not promoted by unrighteousness. It is promoted through the loving sacrifice of those who are obedient to the Lord Jesus Christ.
- The way we handle money will affect how people trust and perceive us. In Luke 16:11, Jesus said, “If you are not trustworthy in the use of unrighteous mammon, who will trust you with the true riches?” Furthermore, the way we handle our money is something God uses to determine whether He will trust us with the true riches of His Kingdom, which includes caring for His people and the release of spiritual gifts in our lives.
- “Flee the very appearance of evil” (Thessalonians 5:22). I urge you to flee from any unrighteous business dealings, unethical or illegal pyramid programs, gambling, or activities that are promoted by greed. God’s work is promoted most fruitfully by people who learn to love and give wisely, from an obedient, cheerful heart.
If you are still considering investing finances, here are some guidelines you can follow, as suggested by Life In Christ Ministries.
1. Diversify your investing. Ecclesiastes 11:2 says, “Divide your portion to seven, or even to eight, for you do not know what misfortune may occur on the earth”. Simply put, don’t put all of your eggs into one basket. In light of dividing portions between 7 or 8 you wouldn’t want to put more than 12 to 15 percent in a single asset class.
2. Understand what you’re investing in. Proverbs 27:23 says, “Know well the condition of your flocks, And pay attention to your herds”. Don’t rely solely on someone else to understand what you’re investing in. Make it a priority of your stewardship to know about, and the state of, your investments in the same way that a shepherd would know and examine his flock. In the next point we’ll mention the importance of seeking wise counsel, but wise counsel doesn’t negate our responsibility to understand what it is we’re putting our money towards.
3. Seek wise counsel. Proverbs 15:22 says, “Without counsel, plans go awry, but in the multitude of counselors they are established.” There may be plenty of people around you who have much more experience investing than you do, getting their input can help you avoid pitfalls they faced. For example, they may know why it’s a good idea for you to get other financial priorities in order first, or they may recommend a financial planner they’ve worked with. Whatever the case may be, the Bible is clear that seeking Godly counsel is always a wise choice.
4. Avoid immoral investments. Ephesians 5:11 says, “Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.” This is where many Christians can easily make mistakes when investing. We’re responsible for what we invest our money in; hence, if any person invests in a company that openly espouses an anti Biblical-agenda, they are responsible for helping propagate that company’s message.
Let me say this again, if it is too good to be true, it probably isn’t true!
My only request: Please dont try to GUESS the company I’m referring to, because that is not the point of this blog. This blog is only geared to those who knowingly invest into a scam. If you think you are investing into a great company and you have done your research, thats awesome!