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Jesus as a Debt Collector

It does not matter what religion that you practice, seeking divine intervention is a common thread that binds us all. And that is good. Since debt does not discriminate among those of various religions we should not discriminate when we talk about a single unified higher power, in this case and for this discussion, God.

There is no way that I am suggesting that turning to God in a time of debt to save you from financial misery is going to provide you with a financial solution. What’s that expression, God works in mysterious ways? But what I will suggest is that turning to prayer, introspection and the support of others and a community that cares about you can provide a great comfort and solace in turbulent and troubled times. The power of prayer amongst faiths is documented and best of all, prayer is free.

Maybe what we need is an organized multi-faith prayer group for debtors. Not to pay the bills but to ease the emotional burden. Why not, and again, it’s free.

I’ll admit that you won’t find me at church on Sunday. It has been a long time since I’ve been on a regular basis. But today is Sunday as I write this and for me, religion no longer has to be a complicated set of rules but a pursuit for knowledge about God, goodness, faith and understanding. The American comedian George Carlin once made the comment that God does not live only in the church, he lives in the bushes and trees as well.

Turning to God for emotional support during times of troubled debt does not have to be complicated. Rather than go from religious building to temple, to synagogue to church, you can visit some well traveled digital religious centers like St Pixels or some smaller out of the way place like the more cutting edge Revolution Church in New York.

Thinking about God and religion as a source of comfort during troubled times does not have to be a matter of faith because the benefits in reaching out to others during strife and providing an ear to listen, a shoulder to lean on and the knowledge that others care, can provide priceless comfort. MasterCard bill, $10,000. Compassion and concern for your fellow man, priceless.

But the thought of God and debt for me always brings up another side of the issue. It’s the old “What would Jesus/Mohammad/Buddha do?” Truly I ask myself when I hear the horrible stories of a bank setting artificial hurdle rates that prevent debtors from having access to good debt repayment solutions, “Is that would Jesus would do?” Are the almost total blanket rejections of fair debt repayment plans sanctioned by God or religion?

So much of the written word of religion can be taken out of context but when I saw this passage from the bible it seemed to be so on target and poignant.

Parable of Two Debtors

And Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” And he replied, “Say it, Teacher.” “A moneylender had two debtors: one owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. When they were unable to repay, he graciously forgave them both. So which of them will love him more?” Simon answered and said, “I suppose the one whom he forgave more.” And He said to him, “You have judged correctly.”

It seems so relevant in today’s world. Creditors fail to learn that understanding and compassionate care during vicious debt would win the hearts and minds of a loyal customer for life. A consumer actually being able to trust that their bank would act fairly and reasonably would be a welcome change from the cynicism and mistrust of today’s lenders that appear to only love you when your payment is on time and want to crucify you when the payment arrives late.

I wonder how the employees of banks and others can remedy the conflict between a personal life of spirituality and a work life of enforcing a corporate policy of profits over people. Lenders are comprised of good and valuable souls that toil for pay but seem to sacrifice their individual beliefs in one God to serve the corporate deity instead.

In these seemingly radical and troubled times of terrorism and hate I’m sure that someone somewhere has even called for a Jihad against creditor cruelty. Imagine an England where debtors were actually treated sympathetically and individually and given a fair and reasonable chance to repay their debt with kindness and understanding.

I’ll tell you what I’d love to see, Jesus working as a collector at Bank of America. Being religious does not mean that you have to be so one sided that the solution is unfair. I’m sure Jesus would be able to find a way to represent Bank of America and assist the debtor at the same time. He’d probably seek a solution based in fairness and balance for all in a sea of cooperation, understanding and love.

I think if a debtor with a desire to repay what they could afford to got a collection call from Jesus at Bank of America, Jesus would ask what the situation was with the debtor, listen carefully, suggest a fair and reasonable solution that allowed the debtor to repay what they could afford to, and as soon as Jesus hung up the phone he’d be fired.

“Sorry Jesus but we crunched the numbers and you didn’t hit the corporate hurdle rate for that repayment solution you suggested and your on-call time was unacceptable and you missed your collection quota. Get Out!

Being fair does not mean that you have to allow yourself to be walked on. If a creditor gives a debtor a fair, and reasonable chance to repay what they can afford and the debtor abuses that opportunity, kick the debtor’s ass, and I’m not talking donkey.

I’m not suggesting that collectors are bad people, they don’t make the rules. I’m also not suggesting that God will damn credit card executives straight to hell, but at times when you are dealing with the next case of a debtor being unfairly refused an opportunity to repay what they can afford, it is an interesting visual.

Imagine a collection department executive turning up at the Pearly Gates and being turned down for spiritual repayment plan and sent straight to hell because they could not meet the sincerity hurdle rate. “Honestly God, I knew we put profits ahead of people and acted as the creditor’s puppet but we didn’t mean it. [Insert sound of floor sliding open.]

What I am suggesting is that some of the policies and power plays by creditors to block people from repaying their debt through good and reasonable approaches is just not fair and I wonder, is that what God, Jesus, Mohammad or Buddha would want us to do?

Jesus as a Debt Collector
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About Steve Rhode

Steve Rhode
Steve Rhode is the Get Out of Debt Guy and has been helping good people with bad debt problems since 1994. You can learn more about Steve, here.
  • Steve Rhode

    Thanks for the offer. My church these days involves long contemplative rides on the motorcycle.

  • Jim at IRSMind.com

    Steve-

    Thanks for the article. Especially on two topics no one ever dares address: religion and debt.

    Prayer is free- so why not be bold and try it.

    Debt collectors should pray also- it relieves the guilt you feel from causing stress to those who owe you (take it from a former “Matthew” and “Zacchaeus”).

    Prayer and faith are foundational for “inside-out” change- a necessary component for staying out of debt and bringing about meaningful change and hope to your life.

    As always, I will continue to pray for those in debt as well the Matthews and Zacchaeuses. And Steve, I would be glad to take you to church next Sunday- just say the word.

    The tax guy,

    Jim

    IRSMind.com

  • Jim at IRSMind.com

    Steve-

    Thanks for the article. Especially on two topics no one ever dares address: religion and debt.

    Prayer is free- so why not be bold and try it.

    Debt collectors should pray also- it relieves the guilt you feel from causing stress to those who owe you (take it from a former “Matthew” and “Zacchaeus”).

    Prayer and faith are foundational for “inside-out” change- a necessary component for staying out of debt and bringing about meaningful change and hope to your life.

    As always, I will continue to pray for those in debt as well the Matthews and Zacchaeuses. And Steve, I would be glad to take you to church next Sunday- just say the word.

    The tax guy,

    Jim

    IRSMind.com

    • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

      Thanks for the offer. My church these days involves long contemplative rides on the motorcycle.

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