The idea of forgiving debts is not a new one. It arose centuries ago during biblical times. Despite the social stigma often associated with filing bankruptcy, the United States, which was founded as a Judeo-Christian nation, draws on a rich religious heritage of showing compassion for debtors.
During the time of Moses, the Israelites were ordered to forgive debtors their debts every seven years. Many debtors, and in some cases also their families had gone into slavery as a means of paying off debts. So, in these instances, forgiving a debt also meant granting freedom from slavery. The Old Testament chapter Deuteronomy 15:1 explains the scriptural reference for forgiving debts and Leviticus 25-26 also describes the year of Jubilee where creditors freed debtors and forgave debt. Later, during the Christian era, in Matthew 6:9-13, the passage within the prayer that eventually became known as the Lord’s Prayer also made reference to forgiving debts, but in a more general way. It says forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.
For Americans, our forefathers incorporated bankruptcy provisions into the U.S. statutes, and since that time many bankruptcy laws have evolved, establishing specific rules for pursuing bankruptcy.
While you may feel guilty and ashamed about filing bankruptcy, it has a religious along with a legal foundation and is a recourse to put past misfortunes or mistakes behind you and get a fresh financial start.
Remember if you are sincere, the Lord will forgive you. The hardest part is forgiving yourself.
Harold Shepley & Associates is a full service debt relief law firm based in Pennsylvania that offers legal assistance and guidance with bankruptcy. The firm offers a free consultation to discuss your financial issues and help you find the right remedy.