You shall love your neighbor as yourself. These are the words that God has left us to help us define how we are to interact with our neighbors. To help us further there are also proverbs that instruct us how we are to handle specific situations involving our neighbors. These two verses in Proverbs chapter three are some of those verses that give us that instruction.
This proverb has to do with how we treat our neighbor when we owe him money - in short - this is about how we pay our debts. The phrase "from those to whom it is due" means to those who are its rightful owners. The word "those" is the Hebrew word "baal" which means a master or an owner. Some want to make this passage about taking care of the poor - and while there are many verses that instruct us to do just that - this is not one of them. It is about withholding good from the owner who is present. If this were not about repayment of debts - we might have an interesting time defining the "one to whom it is due."
When we legitimately owe someone money - we need to repay it. Since we have incurred the debt - they deserve to receive from us what we owe them. Most debts in our world are negotiated debts - so there is a payment that is due each month or week. It is our responsibility to give them the money on time. If our financial obligation is due - it is sinful for us to ask our creditor to wait till tomorrow to be paid. This is especially true if we have the money with us. This is what is means when we read that we have it is our power to do good toward them. The good is to be faithful to pay our debt in an acceptable amount of time.
We are told in verse 28 that it is a sinful thing to tell our neighbor that we will pay them tomorrow when we have the money with us today. Thus to wait out a creditor because we have something to gain - or because we may not want to part with our money today - is sin. If we have the money with us - we need to pay it to the person we owe immediately. The way we pay our bills is a testimony to our faith in the Lord. If we are constantly late with our bills and are not wise with our money - it is a very poor testimony to the Lord. To pay our debts wisely and regularly lets the world around us know that we manage our money well. The truth is that it is not "our money" anyway. It is money that God has entrusted us with for the sake of using it for His glory. When we handle our financies this way - we do Him honor and remind those around us that Christians are trustworthy, faithful people. When we do not - great shame is brought to God's name. May God always grant us to be the people who are the former - and who honey and magnify God with how we handle His money and pay our debts.