Bankruptcy and the Bible
Individuals with strong religious beliefs facing debt often worry that they are not living according to biblical principles if they file bankruptcy. However, upon closer examination, the Bible has much to say on these topics, and you may be surprised by what it reveals.
Does the Bible Condone the Lending or Borrowing of Money?
In addition to everything the Bible says about money, it’s important to touch on some of the things it doesn’t say.
For example, you won’t find any passages declaring that borrowing or lending money is a sin. However, you won’t find text that tells you it’s a good idea to borrow or lend money, either.
The Bible does warn that carrying debt comes with its share of dangers, which it does. However, nowhere is it stated that being in debt means you’re in violation of any commandments or acting outside of God’s will.
As well, being in debt does not mean that you can expect God to save you from your debt. The following passage does not make any promise by God to erase debt or its consequences:
Philippians 4:19: “And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”
What Does the Bible Say About Debt?
First, the Bible speaks to the importance of providing for our family:
1 Timothy 5:8: “If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.”
And the following passage makes a clear statement about the validity of lending and borrowing money:
Matthew 5:42: “Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.”
You may find yourself in a situation where caring for your family has become a priority over your other financial obligations. In this case, carrying some debt can become necessary, although it’s something you didn’t plan or wouldn’t have chosen.
You may already be too familiar with the following passages:
Proverbs 22:7: “The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is a slave to the lender.”
Proverbs 22:26-27: “Don’t be one of those who enter agreements, who put up security for loans. If you have nothing with which to pay, even your bed will be taken from under you.”
Incredibly high credit card and loan interest rates often means that a person simply trades one form of debt for another. When this happens, it can quickly become clear that bankruptcy is the only solution to persistent creditor calls, wage garnishments or bank levies.
What Is Bankruptcy?
America’s financial systems employ several means of getting payments owed from those who cannot pay. Someone may come to your home in the middle of the night to repossess your car—remember Proverbs 22:26-27?
When repeated harassment from credit card companies yields no payment, they can start to garnish your wages, rendering you even less able to meet your financial obligations.
Then there is bankruptcy. There are two options available:
Chapter 13 bankruptcy involves analyzing your total amount of debt as well as your income and expenses. This analysis determines your ability to pay some of your debt with your disposable income. If this is possible, your scenario will involve entering into an affordable monthly repayment plan.
Chapter 7 bankruptcy stops debt collectors and creditors from charging interest and calling you, and it allows you to eliminate your debt. The Old and New Testament command creditors to forgive debt.
Now we come to the crux of the issue. As a religious individual in financial difficulty, are you still in line with God’s will if you follow bankruptcy laws?
Deuteronomy 15:1-2 says: “In the seventh year you shall grant a release of debts. And this is the form of the release: Every creditor who has lent anything to his neighbor shall release it; he shall not require it of his neighbor or his brother, because it is called the Lord’s release.”
Matthew 6:12, 14-15 asks Christ to: “Forgive us our debts, as we ourselves have forgiven our debtors. For if you forgive others their sins, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, your Father will not forgive you your sins.”
Luke 7:42 says: “When they were unable to repay, he graciously forgave them both.”
Which Direction Is Right?
The Bible makes numerous references to the acquiring, repayment, and forgiveness of debt, but this doesn’t mean the answer is simple. If you’re still unsure about whether bankruptcy is the right direction for you, Proverbs encourages the following:
Proverbs 3: 5-6: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths.”
“Letting go and letting God” is a powerful act that frees up the lines of communication to allow God to help you. If you have prayed about your situation with hope that God may bless you with a fresh start, then your next step is to contact an experienced attorney.
Affordability, Professionalism, and Experience
Bankruptcy is a fair, moral, and legal means of repaying your debt. If you’re ready to recover from financial difficulty, the Law Offices of Kevin T. Simon APC can help. We offer two decades of experience with over 10,000 cases in California and can help you achieve debt forgiveness. Call (818) 783-1674 today to claim your free consultation.