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I've got money problems – do I need financial therapy?

Matt Holderness Portrait Matt Holderness
5 min

It’s fair to say that money dominates a lot of UK society right now. Political parties are voted for because of their commitment to use taxation towards a desired outcome. People are assessed on their intrinsic value to society by how much they earn. And power is often yielded by those with the biggest net worth. So, it’s not surprising to discover that we’ve developed an unhealthy attitude towards money over the years.

If you’re anything like me, money will also have dominated your thoughts at one time or another, whether it’s trying to figure out how to make ends meet when times are hard or stressing about how much your mortgage interest rate is going to be in the future. Money problems can often be all consuming and during those difficult times we could all do with a little bit of help.

That’s why my ears pricked up when I recently heard about financial therapy.

A problem shared is a problem halved?

Therapy is traditionally used when we have unhealthy relationships towards something or someone. So, it makes sense to see the rise of therapy in helping people with money problems.

Financial therapists, like their traditional counterparts, use psychological techniques to uncover the supposed root causes of our issues – things like low self-worth, family patterns or emotional voids. From there they attempt to remap ingrained thinking through a combination of tried and tested therapeutic techniques, alongside financial advice to help overcome cashflow issues, to offer budgeting hacks and to find ways to combat compulsive spending and hoarding wealth.

So, could talking about money problems really help or is there more to it than that? Is financial therapy really the answer to my money problems?

Failure to address the human heart

While financial therapy can certainly provide some useful practical tools, ultimately it has limited capacity when it comes to the deeper issues around money. Financial therapists may help people get a handle on their finances in the short term, but without an ultimate perspective on wealth and generosity, financial therapy alone can't address the spiritual roots of why so many of us struggle with our attitudes and behaviours. Ultimately, financial therapy is merely treating the symptoms rather than getting to the crux of the human disorder around money – the human heart.

Put simply, the love of money doesn't stem from unmet emotional needs but from the greed, envy and covetousness that reside in all our hearts (Mark 7:21–23). No amount of psychoanalysis can cure idolatry or satisfy the soul’s hunger for purpose and fulfilment, which is found in Jesus alone.

Thankfully there is a solution that has proved timeless in addressing the human heart and its relationship to money – the Bible. Rather than offering a sticking plaster, scripture can perform open heart surgery to deal with the real issue around our money problems.

Four biblical solutions for money problems

Here are four ways that the Bible points us toward a more lasting solution to our financial concerns.

  1. Heed Jesus' warnings against the idolatry of wealth
    Jesus spoke frequently about money – more than any other single topic – precisely because He knew its powerful tendency to control the human heart. He bluntly warned that "you cannot serve both God and money" (Matthew 6:24). Jesus didn't condemn wealth itself but cautioned against allowing money and possessions to become idols that dominate our lives and distract us from what's truly important.
  2. Embrace Jesus’ radically generous paradigm
    Rather than the cultural norms of clutching wealth and possessions, Jesus liberated His followers to take a radically different view – living with ‘open hands’ toward material goods and generously sharing resources with those in need. He taught them to store up "treasures in heaven" rather than hoarding earthly wealth (Matthew 6:19–21). The early Church put this into practice, with many believers selling possessions voluntarily to provide for others (Acts 2–4).
  3. Recover the New Testament value of generosity
    The teachings and examples of generosity saturating the New Testament sometimes stand in stark contrast to today's materialism and greed. For the early Christians, giving generously was not an optional practice but a hallmark of their faith. The apostle Paul organised a multi-church offering to support impoverished believers in Jerusalem, and some begged to give to this out of their own poverty (2 Corinthians 8–9).
  4. Experience the paradoxical life of generosity
    As we allow the teachings of Jesus and the rest of the New Testament to radically reorient our perspectives on wealth and possessions, we find an upside-down truth: that generous giving is paradoxically the path to true and lasting riches. When we release our clenched fists on money, embracing the joyous, counterculture life of generosity, we experience deep fulfilment in tangibly participating in God's own generous character. As Jesus put it, "Give, and it will be given to you ... For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you" (Luke 6:38).

Is financial therapy the answer to my money problems?

Yes and no.

There is certainly real value in the practical aspects that it offers – budgeting, reining in spending and looking at being generous. It’s also really helpful to talk about these things, and there are others out there who have been doing these very same things for years.

However, without addressing the heart of the issues, just talking about money problems will ultimately fail.

To really deal with our money problems we need to hear the wisdom of scripture and the life-giving words of our Lord and Saviour. Only then will we be able to start solving our money problems once and for all. 

More on money and the Bible

We have an array of blogs that focus on biblical stewardship and charitable giving, as well as a range of resources to help you think more clearly about money.

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Profile image of Matt Holderness
Written by

Matt Holderness

Matt joined Stewardship in 2022 with over twenty years of marketing experience from roles at Kendal College and Capernwray Bible School. He has degrees in Business and Marketing, Theology, Management and most recently a Masters in Hermeneutics. 

Through raising awareness of Stewardship’s services, Matt helps people explore the impact their generosity can have on the church and Christian charities. He’s passionate about supporting Evangelism and Bible causes, and has a particular interest in charities that are helping people in Poverty and Debt in the UK.