Some Christians, when facing severe financial distress, have difficulty considering bankruptcy as an appropriate option. They question the bankruptcy process’s suitability under their Christian beliefs. Does filing for bankruptcy conflict with the teachings of the Bible? Will filing for bankruptcy show a lack of faith? Is filing for bankruptcy a sin?
No one can cite biblical references regarding bankruptcy as it did not exist in biblical times, but debt and slavery existed as did debt forgiveness. When modern-day debt is insurmountable and overwhelms an individual or family to the point of inhibiting their ability to function, bankruptcy is a valid and legal option. It is not a sin to be avoided; it is a legal protection to be used by those in need. Bankruptcy is a legal process of discharging debts or making alternative arrangements for the repayment of debt when repayment is otherwise harmful to the individual or impossible to accomplish.
If you are struggling to fit bankruptcy into your faith-based belief system, you aren’t alone. In 1789, the United States Constitution provided that Congress could create bankruptcy laws. This means from the founding of our country bankruptcy was an important part of public policy. Every transaction and relationship could be impacted by bankruptcy. Bankruptcy laws were to balance the two important considerations of Justice and Mercy.
Some of the oldest mentions of “releasing” or discharging debt are found in the Bible. In Deuteronomy 15:1-2, it reads, “At the end of every seven years you shall grant a release of debts…” The practice of periodic debt forgiveness is mentioned again in the books of Nehemiah, Leviticus, and Ezekiel. Jesus referenced the Jubilee in Luke 4.
Consider the benefits of filing for bankruptcy, and you will find Christian values at the base of this legal process:
- Bankruptcy is a legal process. Christianity promotes law-abiding behavior.
- Bankruptcy is a form of debt forgiveness. One of Christianity’s essential elements is forgiveness.
- Bankruptcy helps people avoid financial ruin and maintain the health and welfare of their family. Christianity is built around the strength of family.
- Bankruptcy promotes an equitable society. Christianity abhors the unfair treatment of the poor or misfortunate.
- Bankruptcy allows debtors to have a fresh start. Christianity believes in trying again and second chances.
There is no shame in seeking a discharge of debt when unintended circumstances leave you struggling to care for your family. When you are out of choices and need help to release your family from chains of debt, don’t hesitate to get in touch with Kenneth C. Rannick P.C., Tennessee, and Georgia bankruptcy attorney. We help good people through bad times.