Ask yourself “Why am I in debt in the first place?” Is God responsible for my unwise or greedy decisions that may have put me there? And even if I’ve come into debt legitimately, isn’t my first debt to God? Is not the tithe a debt to God since he clearly states it belongs to him? If we obey God and make good our financial debt to him, he will help us as we seek to pay off our debts to others. I must not rob God to pay men.
Give the 10%. That was a minimum requirement of even the poorest Israelites. (Shouldn’t Christians raise the bar, not lower it?) Then, trust God to make your other money stretch as you continue to pay off your debt. You do have a responsibility to pay off your debt. But look for ways you can cut down on expenses such as entertainment, hobbies, eating out, coffee drinks, etc. and apply that money toward reducing your debt as well. Once your debt is paid off, you can use this money for extra giving beyond the tithe.
Also, check with your creditor(s) and they will work with you to lower your monthly payments if need be. At any rate, pay it off as fast as you can, destroy any credit cards and don’t incur any other debt, and above all give the 10%. Trust God and watch him take care of you.
And remember, the tithe is just the beginning. Once you decide to tithe and see God provide, you will be encouraged to look for ways you can give beyond the tithe. In our culture, many of us can give far beyond a tithe, and in doing so we will find great joy and blessing. Jesus said “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” (Acts 20:35)