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  • Writer's pictureMarshall Reissman

The Spiritual Roots of Bankruptcy: Part I

New clients often arrive at our office looking like they’ve been through combat–and indeed they have, but mostly with themselves. Shrugged shoulders, bleary eyes, furrowed brow, and a face full of regret reflect the emotional toll leading to the dreaded consultation with…a bankruptcy lawyer. Few life events are more stressful.

It doesn’t have to be that way! Filing for bankruptcy relief is not a crime. Filing for bankruptcy relief is not a sin. Overwhelming indebtedness does not have to be a life sentence of destitution. Contrary to what some nasty, lying debt collectors may suggest, you’re not going to jail, and you’re not going to hell. In fact, bankruptcy may not only provide a financial “fresh start;” it may be the ticket out of emotional, psychological, and spiritual imprisonment.

Many folks are unaware that our system of debt relief originally comes from the Bible. Now, this blog is not about proselytizing or pushing religion on anyone, but many of our legal and ethical standards have biblical roots. Teachings like the Ten Commandments and the Golden Rule generally transcend religious dogma. While it is clear that people are expected to pay their debts as best they can in good faith (Leviticus 25:39), the right to debt forgiveness is ordained in the Bible. Deuteronomy 15:1-2 states that loans are cancelled every seven years. Charging interest for loans is frowned upon, and, under many circumstances, downright forbidden (e.g., Deu. 23:19-20; Ezekiel 22:12).

So, if one has fallen on hard times, there may be comfort in knowing that bankruptcy comes from biblical notions of compassion, redemption, and a “fresh start.” At our law firm, we make every effort to help our clients with these principles in mind. You can get help without feeling like you’re being negatively judged. You can put the past in the past and get on with your life. It’s OK–you don’t have to beat yourself up.

If you are in need of a bankruptcy attorney, call us today for a free consultation!


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