Author Topic: What's your opinion of a Christian declaring Bankruptcy?  (Read 2377 times)

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Offline Brian

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What's your opinion of a Christian declaring Bankruptcy?
« on: February 24, 2011, 09:39:26 AM »
I found it very interesting that according to what I've read, the founding fathers of the United States, based the US bankruptcy law on Deuteronomy 15:1 At the end of every seven years you must cancel debts.

That having been said, what do you think about a Christian filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy? Chapter 7 is where all credit card type debt is forgiven, to give someone a fresh start. Now obviously if someone is abusing this law, they are doing something wrong. In the case of one brother I know, he had a lot of medical bills pile up, and due to the recession, his income went down considerably. And on top of that, his creditors (big companies like US Bank, Bank of America, Chase Manhattan, American Express etc) raised both his monthly payments and the amount of interest they were charging to as much as 29%.

So, he's at the point where he's having to use his credit cards for out of pocket expenses and his out of pocket money to pay his credit card bills.

He always had a perfect credit history, always paid on time and always paid off debt. Until that is, a huge and singular amount of medical bills piled up (a heart condition that turned out to be benign after zillions of tests he was told to take, and having tumor removed. Also found to be benign after removal). His employee health insurance isn't the best and while it did save him a lot more than if he had none, he still ended up owing a lot.

On top of that, all his overtime stopped when the economy collapsed. He relied on his overtime pay the same as waiters and taxi cab drivers rely on tips. And for the 20 years he's been working this job, overtime was always plentiful and available up until 2009.
He tried his best to keep the ship afloat all throughout 2010. But there's just no way he's going make it through 2011 the way things stand.

So... whacha think? It's right or wrong for him to declare bankruptcy and not have to pay back his creditors? He still can of course, but he won't have to. 

What's your verdict?
For it is for this we labor and strive, because we have fixed our hope on the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of believers. 1 Timothy 4:10

Offline shawn

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Re: What's your opinion of a Christian declaring Bankruptcy?
« Reply #1 on: February 24, 2011, 04:51:34 PM »
Personally, I'm not a big fan of telling someone what is right and wrong for them in their life.  That would be me taking the place of the Holy Spirit in their lives especially when dealing with areas that are more gray.  But, I have had times where I did not manage money in a Godly fashion.  I have made mistakes, gotten myself into debt and had problems paying people back.  I don't believe God wants us to live in slavery to a lender.

But a couple scriptures comes to mind...

Psalm 37:21 The wicked borrow and do not repay, but the righteous give generously

Proverbs 22:26-27
Do not be a man who strikes hands in pledge or puts up security for debts; if you lack the means to pay, your very bed will be snatched from under you.



I think it's pretty clear that if we borrow money, that we are making a promise of repayment.  By failing to repay, we are breaking a promise that leads to theft.

With that said, there is another side to this coin.  There are those wealthy institutions that will take advantage of a desperate person, or someone down on their luck.  And the Bible is clear about that kind of behavior as well.

Deuteronomy 25:13-15
You shall not have in your bag differing weights, a large and a small. You shall not have in your house
differing measures, a large and a small. You shall have a full and just weight; you shall have a full and just measure, that your days may be prolonged in the land which the LORD your God gives you.

Leviticus 19:13
You shall not oppress your neighbor, nor rob him. The wages of a hired man are not to remain with you all night until morning.


I think each person needs to ask themselves some very tough questions when it comes to bankrupcy.  It is certainly a legal way to relieve oneself of debt.  But, I don't believe it to be optimum.  However, there are desperate cases where I see no other way.

What we ARE called to do is learn from our mistakes with money.  We are called to be lenders, not borrowers.

Deuteronomy 15:6
For the Lord your God will bless you as He has promised you, and you will lend to many nations, but you will not borrow; and you will rule over many nations, but they will not rule over you.

Proverbs 22:7
The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower becomes the lender's slave.

Money managment has been an area God has really been working on in my life.  I want to be completely debt free and to stay that way.  Being a slave to lenders is no way to live.  It hinders our ability to give freely, and to walk freely.





Offline Molly

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Re: What's your opinion of a Christian declaring Bankruptcy?
« Reply #2 on: February 24, 2011, 04:55:50 PM »
29 % interest is usury, disgusting, and should be against the law.

What is this? The mafia?

He should do what is in the best interests of himself and his family.

pilgrim1

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Re: What's your opinion of a Christian declaring Bankruptcy?
« Reply #3 on: February 24, 2011, 05:02:50 PM »
29 % interest is usury, disgusting, and should be against the law.

What is this? The mafia?

He should do what is in the best interests of himself and his family.

Self interest is a curious perspective on christianity.
I agree that 29% is evil usury but that only emphasises that a christian (or anyone) should avoid those interest rates in the first place if at-all possible.

Offline Molly

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Re: What's your opinion of a Christian declaring Bankruptcy?
« Reply #4 on: February 24, 2011, 05:05:26 PM »
29 % interest is usury, disgusting, and should be against the law.

What is this? The mafia?

He should do what is in the best interests of himself and his family.

Self interest is a curious perspective on christianity.
I agree that 29% is evil usury but that only emphasises that a christian (or anyone) should avoid those interest rates in the first place if at-all possible.
Sure, avoid them if you can, but people are suckered into debt by low or reasonable interest rates, and then there is no cap on what they might start to charge once he is already in debt to them?  They mean to steal from him everything he owns.  He will never be able to pay it back at those rates, and they know it.  In three years, he will have paid back what he owes them [in interest payments] and still be in debt to them for the full amount!

That's theft in my book.
« Last Edit: February 24, 2011, 05:15:11 PM by Molly »

Offline shawn

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Re: What's your opinion of a Christian declaring Bankruptcy?
« Reply #5 on: February 24, 2011, 05:27:21 PM »
29 % interest is usury, disgusting, and should be against the law.

What is this? The mafia?

He should do what is in the best interests of himself and his family.

Self interest is a curious perspective on christianity.
I agree that 29% is evil usury but that only emphasises that a christian (or anyone) should avoid those interest rates in the first place if at-all possible.
Sure, avoid them if you can, but people are suckered into debt by low or reasonable interest rates, and then there is no cap on what they might start to charge once he is already in debt to them?  They mean to steal from him everything he owns.  He will never be able to pay it back at those rates, and they know it.  In three years, he will have paid back what he owes them [in interest payments] and still be in debt to them for the full amount!

That's theft in my book.

I would agree it's theft.  It's abusing the debtor.  With that said, it's why Christians should make every attempt not to allow themselves to get into these situations.  If you play with fire you are bound to be burned.

Learning to live with less is an acquired taste.  It's one that the Lord is trying to teach me now.  But, eventually you get sick of being strapped month after month, no matter how much money you make, because of poor money management and overspending.

My advice to the initial guy would be to set up a plan to not borrow another cent.  Work out something with the credit card companies and the hospitals.  Have a plan, pay it down then never go into debt again.

Offline Molly

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Re: What's your opinion of a Christian declaring Bankruptcy?
« Reply #6 on: February 24, 2011, 05:33:21 PM »
Shakespeare got it right:

Neither a borrower nor a lender be,
For loan oft loses both itself and friend,
And borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry.
Hamlet Act 1, scene 3

Offline shawn

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Re: What's your opinion of a Christian declaring Bankruptcy?
« Reply #7 on: February 24, 2011, 07:22:33 PM »
Shakespeare got it right:

Neither a borrower nor a lender be,
For loan oft loses both itself and friend,
And borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry.
Hamlet Act 1, scene 3

I would certainly agree with not borrowing.  If I can avoid borrowing for the rest of my days, I know I'll be in a better place financially.  As for lending...if you lend with an expectation of being paid back you might have a problem.

Offline thinktank

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Re: What's your opinion of a Christian declaring Bankruptcy?
« Reply #8 on: February 24, 2011, 07:56:48 PM »
One thing is too treat your lenders with respect and kindness. The bible says that those who talk evil of powers, shall not a bird find this out and report the matter to the king. I think this means that there are demonic beings out there who will wisper evil into the ears of ones lenders if the person is speaking evil things behind their back.

I don't know everything, but who knows, if you treat the lenders as a business and people who were willing to help when nobody else in the world would, including the church!, why treat them as murderers?

Treat them with respect and they might give you respect in return. I know from experience that after dealing with some companies they reduced my interest to zero and they reduced my monthly payments down to a manageable level after negotiating with them.





Offline shawn

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Re: What's your opinion of a Christian declaring Bankruptcy?
« Reply #9 on: February 24, 2011, 08:17:03 PM »
One thing is too treat your lenders with respect and kindness. The bible says that those who talk evil of powers, shall not a bird find this out and report the matter to the king. I think this means that there are demonic beings out there who will wisper evil into the ears of ones lenders if the person is speaking evil things behind their back.

I don't know everything, but who knows, if you treat the lenders as a business and people who were willing to help when nobody else in the world would, including the church!, why treat them as murderers?

Treat them with respect and they might give you respect in return. I know from experience that after dealing with some companies they reduced my interest to zero and they reduced my monthly payments down to a manageable level after negotiating with them.

I think this is very good advice.  If we decide to get in bed with a lender then we assume a certain relationship.  We agree to their terms, and must abide by them.  If we find ourselves in a bind to where we can not pay right away, we need to call them, explain the situation and try to work something out.  A lender is far more likely to deal with you fairly if you upfront and honest rather than evasive.  Speaking evil of the lender does nothing to bring us closer to God or resolve the issue.

I want to state for the record I don't claim to be a saint, especially in this area of my life.  So, I am not speaking down to anyone.  I have made huge mistakes in this area of my life, and have not conducted many of my financial affairs in a manner that is Christ like.  But, thankfully God has been working on me.  He first worked on my desires, the lusts of my heart.  Did I need the newest brightest vehicle, the newest enetertainment systems etc?  He then brought awareness to me of my slavery to material things.  Then he began to map out a way for me to be free of debt.

It's about us growing up, and conducting ALL our affairs in a Christ like fashion.  How we treat debt is one of the many things I believe God will work with us on.

Paul Hazelwood

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Re: What's your opinion of a Christian declaring Bankruptcy?
« Reply #10 on: February 24, 2011, 08:46:29 PM »
Like most things the persons intent is the key.

If someone has the intent of running up  their bills knowing they can file bankruptcy, then I believe they are wrong.

However many people have no such intent and life happens and you can be in a spot where you end up making that choice,  I believe that is the difference in this issue.


Offline Taffy

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Re: What's your opinion of a Christian declaring Bankruptcy?
« Reply #11 on: February 24, 2011, 09:24:29 PM »
Like most things the persons intent is the key.

If someone has the intent of running up  their bills knowing they can file bankruptcy, then I believe they are wrong.

However many people have no such intent and life happens and you can be in a spot where you end up making that choice,  I believe that is the difference in this issue.
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Isa 29:18 And in that day shall the deaf hear the words of the book, and the eyes of the blind shall see out of obscurity, and out of darkness.

Offline Molly

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Re: What's your opinion of a Christian declaring Bankruptcy?
« Reply #12 on: February 24, 2011, 11:01:55 PM »
Quote from: TT
Speaking evil of the lender does nothing to bring us closer to God or resolve the issue.

But, then I do remember someone turning over tables, and I realize he was angry at where they were plying their trade, but what did he call them?  A den of thieves.

If he called them that, should I believe him?  Or am I missing something here.

I think it's important to know who you are dealing with.


He said to them, "Scripture says, 'My house will be a house of prayer,' but you have turned it into a gathering place for thieves."

--Luke 19:46
« Last Edit: February 24, 2011, 11:06:55 PM by Molly »

Offline shawn

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Re: What's your opinion of a Christian declaring Bankruptcy?
« Reply #13 on: February 24, 2011, 11:22:03 PM »
Quote from: TT
Speaking evil of the lender does nothing to bring us closer to God or resolve the issue.

But, then I do remember someone turning over tables, and I realize he was angry at where they were plying their trade, but what did he call them?  A den of thieves.

If he called them that, should I believe him?  Or am I missing something here.

I think it's important to know who you are dealing with.


He said to them, "Scripture says, 'My house will be a house of prayer,' but you have turned it into a gathering place for thieves."

--Luke 19:46

Yes, I think you are missing something.  First, is when we sign that paper, and spend someone elses money we are legally bound to them.  For me, the nature of the lender is irrelevant.  I assume they are there to make money off of me, and some do it by unethical means.  That doesn't nullify me of my role/responsibility in that situation.  It takes two to tango.  Second, while the Bible is clear about fairness in business practices, I believe the story of Jesus overturning tables and what not to be deeper than immoral business practice.  It was the conduction of business within the temple.

There is clear right and wrong when it comes to business practices.  But, unfortunately the world is not governed by Biblical views.  When we interact with the world, we must realize that we play by their rules.  If we borrow money, we do so on their terms.  It's why it's best not to borrow if at all possible.

If we are making a concerted effort to change business practices on a legislative level, then by all means our voices should be heard.  But, grumbling about a lender when we were the ones that decided to partner with them is deflection.  It deflects our attention from where it should be...our behaviors...and our spending habits.

With all of that said, I do realize things happen in life.  It's why I always hesitate to give a cut and dry answer when it comes to situations like these...because each case is unique.  Paul touched on that a bit.  When a person loses their job, medical bills pile up, and then amoral lenders swoop in to take advantage of a person in a desperate situation the picture becomes much more muddled.  I am personally glad we have bankrupcy laws.  They should be there for the most dire of cases.  But, like Paul said if we are looking to be bailed out because we lack spending constraint and manage our finances poorly that might not be the best solution.  It would be optimum to learn from our mistakes, live without, pay back our debts, and live our lives freer from the bondage of debt.  Without those lessons, we will stay children in the area of finances.

Offline Brian

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Re: What's your opinion of a Christian declaring Bankruptcy?
« Reply #14 on: February 24, 2011, 11:56:18 PM »
29 % interest is usury, disgusting, and should be against the law.

What is this? The mafia?

He should do what is in the best interests of himself and his family.

Self interest is a curious perspective on christianity.
I agree that 29% is evil usury but that only emphasises that a christian (or anyone) should avoid those interest rates in the first place if at-all possible.
Sure, avoid them if you can, but people are suckered into debt by low or reasonable interest rates, and then there is no cap on what they might start to charge once he is already in debt to them?  They mean to steal from him everything he owns.  He will never be able to pay it back at those rates, and they know it.  In three years, he will have paid back what he owes them [in interest payments] and still be in debt to them for the full amount!

That's theft in my book.

I would agree it's theft.  It's abusing the debtor.  With that said, it's why Christians should make every attempt not to allow themselves to get into these situations.  If you play with fire you are bound to be burned.

Learning to live with less is an acquired taste.  It's one that the Lord is trying to teach me now.  But, eventually you get sick of being strapped month after month, no matter how much money you make, because of poor money management and overspending.

My advice to the initial guy would be to set up a plan to not borrow another cent.  Work out something with the credit card companies and the hospitals.  Have a plan, pay it down then never go into debt again.

I think that's the idea. Right now with the huge interest rates and penalties piling up, there's no way it'll ever get paid off. For every dollar he pays, about about 75% goes towards the interest. The US government put restrictions against the credit companies, and the companies are suddenly playing hard ball in the meantime to make up for it.
Filing bankruptcy is also called by the government, filing for protection. He can still pay off the debt. But now when he pays a dollar, the whole dollar goes towards the initial debt. And there's no one out to "break his kneecaps" in the meantime.

And there's a price to pay, in that he's not going to be able to fiance a general necessity like an automobile for ten years. It may effect his ability to get a job in the future, because a lot of companies use a person's credit score against them in the hiring process. Things like that. So it's not all sunshine and roses afterwords.

The key words I'm seeing in this is are; forgiveness and protection. And I've heard that the credit companies are able to write off unpaid debt tax wise, so they are actually able to make up for it I suppose.

I don't think the government set up this protection/forgiveness law to assist people in stealing, Just I don't thing God set up a debt forgiveness law to assist stealing either.

And this man virtually has very little in the way of worldly possessions. He lives in a small apartment on the bad side of town. Has a little old beat up hatchback and owns low-end or second hand furniture and clothing. His shoes are falling apart. He's far from rolling in luxury by American standards.

But still, I just don't know what  :2c: to offer him yet.


For it is for this we labor and strive, because we have fixed our hope on the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of believers. 1 Timothy 4:10

Offline shawn

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Re: What's your opinion of a Christian declaring Bankruptcy?
« Reply #15 on: February 25, 2011, 12:29:21 AM »
29 % interest is usury, disgusting, and should be against the law.

What is this? The mafia?

He should do what is in the best interests of himself and his family.

Self interest is a curious perspective on christianity.
I agree that 29% is evil usury but that only emphasises that a christian (or anyone) should avoid those interest rates in the first place if at-all possible.
Sure, avoid them if you can, but people are suckered into debt by low or reasonable interest rates, and then there is no cap on what they might start to charge once he is already in debt to them?  They mean to steal from him everything he owns.  He will never be able to pay it back at those rates, and they know it.  In three years, he will have paid back what he owes them [in interest payments] and still be in debt to them for the full amount!

That's theft in my book.

I would agree it's theft.  It's abusing the debtor.  With that said, it's why Christians should make every attempt not to allow themselves to get into these situations.  If you play with fire you are bound to be burned.

Learning to live with less is an acquired taste.  It's one that the Lord is trying to teach me now.  But, eventually you get sick of being strapped month after month, no matter how much money you make, because of poor money management and overspending.

My advice to the initial guy would be to set up a plan to not borrow another cent.  Work out something with the credit card companies and the hospitals.  Have a plan, pay it down then never go into debt again.

I think that's the idea. Right now with the huge interest rates and penalties piling up, there's no way it'll ever get paid off. For every dollar he pays, about about 75% goes towards the interest. The US government put restrictions against the credit companies, and the companies are suddenly playing hard ball in the meantime to make up for it.
Filing bankruptcy is also called by the government, filing for protection. He can still pay off the debt. But now when he pays a dollar, the whole dollar goes towards the initial debt. And there's no one out to "break his kneecaps" in the meantime.

And there's a price to pay, in that he's not going to be able to fiance a general necessity like an automobile for ten years. It may effect his ability to get a job in the future, because a lot of companies use a person's credit score against them in the hiring process. Things like that. So it's not all sunshine and roses afterwords.

The key words I'm seeing in this is are; forgiveness and protection. And I've heard that the credit companies are able to write off unpaid debt tax wise, so they are actually able to make up for it I suppose.

I don't think the government set up this protection/forgiveness law to assist people in stealing, Just I don't thing God set up a debt forgiveness law to assist stealing either.

And this man virtually has very little in the way of worldly possessions. He lives in a small apartment on the bad side of town. Has a little old beat up hatchback and owns low-end or second hand furniture and clothing. His shoes are falling apart. He's far from rolling in luxury by American standards.

But still, I just don't know what  :2c: to offer him yet.

And I believe that plan to be very reasonable.  American's should be afforded protections against the absurdities of gluttonous interest rates.  I am not an accountant or a lawyer so my advice can only be on Biblical principles as I understand them.  Sounds like he is in a bind, and trying to do the right thing.  There is no shame in asking for help or relief.  I don't believe he is violating any Biblical principles by asking for such relief.

Offline Molly

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Re: What's your opinion of a Christian declaring Bankruptcy?
« Reply #16 on: February 25, 2011, 01:10:42 AM »
Quote from: Shawn
... I believe the story of Jesus overturning tables and what not to be deeper than immoral business practice.

There's a lot going on for sure, but I don't think it should be lost on us that he called them 'thieves.'  [As if there should be any doubt after what we've observed them doing in the last two years...]

Quote
If we are making a concerted effort to change business practices on a legislative level, then by all means our voices should be heard.

There you go, and what do we expect thieves to do when we give them a blank check?  Let's think about why it should be against the law for them to ratchet up this man's interest to 30 percent, because I'm willing to bet he did not have any idea that would happen.

PS we need to reinstate the Glass-Steagall Act.

Offline shawn

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Re: What's your opinion of a Christian declaring Bankruptcy?
« Reply #17 on: February 25, 2011, 01:21:07 AM »
Quote from: Shawn
... I believe the story of Jesus overturning tables and what not to be deeper than immoral business practice.

There's a lot going on for sure, but I don't think it should be lost on us that he called them 'thieves.'  [As if there should be any doubt after what we've observed them doing in the last two years...]

Quote
If we are making a concerted effort to change business practices on a legislative level, then by all means our voices should be heard.

There you go, and what do we expect thieves to do when we give them a blank check?  Let's think about why it should be against the law for them to ratchet up this man's interest to 30 percent, because I'm willing to bet he did not have any idea that would happen.

PS we need to reinstate the Glass-Steagall Act.

You won't hear me disagree with any of that.  I think we have a couple issues we are talking about here.  One is an impoverished citizen being beatdown by life and creditors.  If our hearts and our legislation doesn't go out to these individuals then something is seriously wrong with us.  The second, is this issue of going bankrupt from a Biblical perspective and our own role in our financial situations.  If we can appreciate and aide the helpless without condoning economic irresponsibility we are doing well.  It's a case by case thing.  Some people just need a good dose of financial counseling, while others need legislative aide.

Offline Molly

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Re: What's your opinion of a Christian declaring Bankruptcy?
« Reply #18 on: February 25, 2011, 01:25:11 AM »
Quote from: Brian
And I've heard that the credit companies are able to write off unpaid debt tax wise, so they are actually able to make up for it I suppose.

Well, generally speaking, we are currently witnessing one of the biggest transfers of wealth from weak hands into strong hands in the history of the world.  These banks have been given a virtual blank check from the Treasury.  Guess who is going to cover them?  We are.  And, we have, to the tune of about 12 trillion dollars so far [that's in addition to the national debt of 14 trillion].  We are either going to pay in outright taxes or runaway inflation.

And when the well runs dry, we will have watched the destruction of one of the greatest countries in the world at the hands of bankers.

But I digress... :mblush:

« Last Edit: February 25, 2011, 01:30:48 AM by Molly »

Offline redhotmagma

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Re: What's your opinion of a Christian declaring Bankruptcy?
« Reply #19 on: February 25, 2011, 04:55:26 PM »
 :thumbsup:  :thumbsup:  molly

Offline Molly

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Re: What's your opinion of a Christian declaring Bankruptcy?
« Reply #20 on: February 25, 2011, 05:35:41 PM »
Thus, policymakers did not immediately recognize the increasingly important role played by financial institutions such as investment banks and hedge funds, also known as the shadow banking system. Some experts believe these institutions had become as important as commercial (depository) banks in providing credit to the U.S. economy, but they were not subject to the same regulations.[18

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Financial_crisis_(2007%E2%80%93present)


Everything has a shadow, see?  Shadow government, shadow banking system, shadow armies, shadow powers.

And, we?  We walk in the valley of the shadow of death.  But..

I will fear no evil for Thou art with me.

--Psa 23

Offline thinktank

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Re: What's your opinion of a Christian declaring Bankruptcy?
« Reply #21 on: February 25, 2011, 10:20:00 PM »
Speaking of shadows - The greed of the bankers is only a reflection of the greed that lies within the hearts of the people. The greed of the bankers is made apparent by it's scale, something that people refuse to see within themselves.

But I think that this recession has made people value other things more and if enough people change, then there will not be an economic meltdown, but rather a recovery.


Offline micah7:9

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Re: What's your opinion of a Christian declaring Bankruptcy?
« Reply #22 on: February 26, 2011, 05:23:56 AM »
 :sigh:
Mic 7:8  Thou dost not rejoice over me, O mine enemy, When I have fallen, I have risen, When I sit in darkness Jehovah is a light to me.

Offline Brian

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Re: What's your opinion of a Christian declaring Bankruptcy?
« Reply #23 on: February 27, 2011, 06:42:19 AM »
Like most things the persons intent is the key.

If someone has the intent of running up  their bills knowing they can file bankruptcy, then I believe they are wrong.

However many people have no such intent and life happens and you can be in a spot where you end up making that choice,  I believe that is the difference in this issue.

He's pretty sick to his stomach over the idea, so I have little doubt it's what he was hoping for. I agree with what you say. In the end, God knows our hearts and that's what it comes down to.

We've all I'm sure seen charlatans on TV using Scripture to masterfully persuade people. But God's not fooled by any of it. He knows what's in a man's heart.

Thanks for the input, everyone. This is a controversial issue to be sure and there's no way everyone's going to see it the same way.
For it is for this we labor and strive, because we have fixed our hope on the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of believers. 1 Timothy 4:10

Offline Brian

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For it is for this we labor and strive, because we have fixed our hope on the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of believers. 1 Timothy 4:10