He was the responsible one, the one everyone depended on because they knew he would come through. He was determined, focused, ambitious, reliable, detail-oriented and motivated yet here he sits having to make one of the hardest decisions in his life, one that would forever tarnish his reputation. It is the decision to file for bankruptcy. There is a part of him that intellectually knows it must be done as the numbers don’t allow for any other alternative yet there is another part of him that is not willing to admit failure. And that is exactly how he sees it, as failure and a blemish to his name which will never be forgotten.
No amount of mutual bankruptcy filers including various famous or successful people seem to calm his anxiety or set him further at ease. No amount of verbal encouragement from a variety of friends and family seem to lift his spirits. And no amount of logical detailed analysis seems to ease the perfectionist standard that will be forever lost when the paperwork is complete. There is virtually nothing that can be said or done to reduce the intense emotions of the moment; depression, discouragement, and disheartenment have made a home where the bankruptcy left a wound.
This is precisely why God allowed the Israelites the ability to be free from their debts every seven years because He knew the burden of debt unable to be repaid. In Deuteronomy 15:1, it states, “At the end of every seventh year you must cancel the debts of everyone who owes you money.” He explains the reason for the cancellation of debt as a desire not to have any of the Israelites classified as poor. And having excessive debt does result in a poor economic class of people within Israel. He further states that if the debt is forgiven, the person forgiving the debt will receive a blessing as a result. The same lesson is then applied to slaves, asking the Hebrew people to release their slaves every six years as a reminder of God freeing the Israelites from the hands of the Egyptians.
Debt binds you to the debtor. If the debtor decides to call the loan, which they can, and you are unable to pay the consequences could be devastating. Habakkuk 2:7 states, “Suddenly, your debtors will take action. They will turn on you and take all you have, while you stand trembling and helpless.” This fear lives deep in the heart of everyone who takes on debt whether or not they acknowledge it is an entirely different story. This is why God does not want His people to be bound to debt. He has given us freedom from sin through Jesus Christ and wants us to remain in His freedom, not intentionally binding ourselves up to a new master even if it is the “American dream”. The wisdom that comes from bankruptcy is the wisdom of the true meaning of freedom. Once you have tasted it, you are not likely to be satisfied with anything else.