Hello, this is Jeff Kelly and Today is July 1st, 2019. Today I want to talk about, “is it a sin to file bankruptcy?” We actually got this question from a potential client this past week. I’ve been a bankruptcy attorney for, gosh, over 21 years now. So, do I believe that is a sin to file bankruptcy? Absolutely not. Of course, it’s not. What a lot of people are really shocked to find out is that our entire bankruptcy system was actually inspired by the Bible. If you don’t believe me, go check it out yourself. Deuteronomy chapter 15 talks about this thing called the Jubilee where all the debts got wiped out every seven years.
Now personally, I believe that God did not want Israel to be a nation of economic slaves. So, there is a safety valve here called the Jubilee. Well, this country was founded by people who did read the Bible and I believe they were inspired to create a bankruptcy system. And they believed in it so strongly that it’s actually written into the United States Constitution. It’s been there since the beginning, because these guys did not want to have a nation of economic slaves. And it makes sense. If you’re going to allow people to charge high interest rates, or if we’re going to allow interest to be charged at all. You got to have a safety valve and that safety valve is the bankruptcy system. Now, a lot of people who complain and moan and groan about our bankruptcy system have no clue how it actually works. They think it’s just some magic wand that somebody just waves or a button they press, and all their debt just magically goes away. Well, that Not the case. Okay. The bankruptcy system is, there’s a lot of checks and balances in this. When someone files bankruptcy, you have to produce your tax return to the trustee for them to verify your income. You also have to produce paycheck stubs showing how much you make, you have to sign court documents listing all of your assets, the value and the debts before you can get a discharge of your debts in bankruptcy. And if somebody has, you know, this huge, ginormous house, and they it’s worth a ton of money are they going to be able to file bankruptcy and wipe out their debts? Well, of course not. In Georgia, the maximum for a married couple, it’s $43,000 of equity. If somebody has more than that they’re not going to be able to wipe it out. So it is a good system because there are checks, there are balances.
And another point that I want to stress is If we didn’t have a bankruptcy system, what would this country look like? Well, first of all, people would not borrow money, people wouldn’t be willing to take risks to buy houses and business and so forth. That would be very, very bad for this economy. But also, for the for the few who did and got in trouble, their economic lives would be over and that would ruin their productivity forever, and this could potentially be detrimental. Look at our nation’s history and you will see that Abraham Lincoln had to file bankruptcy. Now, had he not been able to who knows what would have happened? Maybe he never would have been president and that would have been terrible. Henry Ford, the first Ford Motor Company did not make it. The second one did. Thank God he was able to recover and get a new Start. Look what happened from the second Ford Motor Company. The assembly line didn’t just revolutionize the auto industry, it revolutionized every industry and it revolutionize the world. What a great thing that came for this country because we have a bankruptcy system. Walt Disney, first Disney Company didn’t make it. Mickey Mouse was not his first creation. Thank God he was able to recover and get a new start. He started a new company he recovered is very successful, and today, it employs millions of people across the world. The whole world benefited. You know, in more recent times, there’s been some sport figures who’ve had to file such as Evander Holyfield, Kim Basinger, and Nicolas Cage. Thank goodness we live in a country where people don’t just get thrown away and they are given a second chance. And, you know, I find it very ironic, that some of the most vocal, visceral opponents, of having even having a bankruptcy system are evangelical Christians. That really surprises me a lot. Because when you look at evangelical Christian doctrine, basically what it says is that every person who was born is spiritually bankrupt, that everyone is born with this sin nature, and that there is no way that the debt for sin could possibly be paid ever without the grace and payment of Jesus Christ. So, it just boggles my mind that people who claim to have received this grace, want to show no grace, or no mercy to people who get stuck in bad times. Is it somebody’s fault when their spouse just skipped town and, leaves with a pile of debt and this household used to have two incomes, and now they only have one? Does that make them a sinner or a bad person? No, that’s ridiculous. What about somebody gets cancer, and they have a ton of bills. Man, that just makes me mad that somebody would point their finger and say, “Well, that’s just a sin. It’s just immoral for them to file bankruptcy.” Ah, makes my blood boil. Now, what about those verses in the Bible that say pay your bills, blah, blah, blah? Well, yeah, if you’ve got money to pay your bills, and the money is in your account, then sure it would be wrong to not pay them. And honestly, did you know that a lot of people who do file chapter 13 pay all of their debt? What happens is sometimes people get in trouble, they become unemployed, and they’re three, four months behind on the mortgage payment and the mortgage company wants to foreclose on them. Chapter 13 allows those types of people to say, “Stop! You’re not going to be able to foreclose, we’re going to take this debt and we’re going to stretch it out, maybe three years, maybe five years, but we’re going to help this person get back on their feet and they and they’re going to pay their debt.” Bankruptcy can be a good option for a lot of people and if you are interested in talking about it, give me a call 7708818449, or check out my website, www. kellycanhelp.com. I’ve written a book on chapter 13 and chapter 7, and you can download it for free. Thank you so much for listening and have a great day.