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Your God Loves Debtors

Your God Loves Debtors

So many people tell me about how ashamed they feel about their financial problems. They feel like losers, cheats or just bad people for not being able to honor their repayment promises.

It is truly unfortunate that people find themselves in money trouble with debt casting a huge black shadow over their life as far as they can see.

But the tragedy in debt is not that it happens, bad things happen in the lives of many due to no fault of their own. A plane crashes, a rock falls from the sky, a truck slides on ice and loses control. Accidents and unintended events will always happen and each day that we wake up could be our last. Those are all just facts.

In my humble opinion, if you believe in a higher power or God then it is not the fact that you found yourself in trouble that you would be judged on. If you make a mistake and place yourself, intentionally or unintentionally, in harms way with finances, the real thing to worry about is not to punish yourself for your past error but instead to learn from that mistake and not repeat it moving forward.

There is no sense wasting a perfectly good mistake. Learn from it.Click to Tweet

Stop worrying about how peolpe may judge you for your past mistakes. Instead, let’s focus on making your life from this day forward, better. Be grateful, be happy, be thankful for what you have and the curses that you don’t have. When you think your life is bad, trust me, it could always be worse.

Rather than leaving yourself in a financial bind for years to come by sacrificing your health and safety to make minimum payments, consider that it is also gracious to accept responsibility for your past mistakes, address them and move forward to create a safer future and to be a better steward of the money you are making and will make now and in the future.

I have seen many situations where the most responsible action to take is to file bankruptcy instead of limping along to make marginal payments that will never satisfy the debt. In these situations people, after making these payments, are unable to live in a safer area, can’t save for the unexpected, can’t afford medical care or properly feed themselves. Does that make them better or more responsible people?

Don’t allow your creditors or debt collectors to judge you. Your debt is not a statement of who you are, it is only a part of the life that you live. Collectors give you attitude and cast dispersions on you as a tool to make you feel guilty to collect more money. Let judgment stand between you and your God instead.

Now I’ve got to be honest, some of the stories that I hear from people in debt leaving me shaking my head at times and wondering, “What were they thinking?” but even the stories of the worst financial mess have never left me thinking any less of that person as an individual. Debt happens and bad debt happens to good people. Debt is debt, it is not the sum of your life and it certainly does not define you. Your actions define you. Your kindness and gratitude define you.

But that’s just me and my point of view.

What do you think?

You can click here to find a local bankruptcy attorney in your area.

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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

    I frequently see people making the wrong decisions on how to best deal with their because of “guilt” instead of what is logically best and the best way to move forward. I realize this is a difficult time for you but if you don’t put yourself first, who will?

    If you have not read it yet this other article will be right on target for you.

    Thank you for the kind words.

  • Jo & Earl

    Hi Steve….We are an older couple…67 and 71…and the past few years have been filled with hospitalizations, Dr’s appts., new drug prescriptions, & pacemaker checks. My husband was just 6 mos. from full retirement & also full Social Security benefits when his sudden health issues brought all this into our lives. Even with a Drs. statement for light duty after his “recovery,” he was not allowed to go back to his job. Since late Fall of 2004 we have barely been getting by, trying to keep the medical bills paid and covering the ever-increasing costs of daily life.

    Now I’m the lone caregiver for my 90 yr. mother who has Alzheimer’s. We are using 70% of
    our retirement to pay for Medicare supplements and still not staying ahead of the game. We have
    dipped into our savings for many of these expenses….and the credit card debt has increased ….
    house repairs, sewer line collapsing, frig. going out, even purchasing a used car with a convenience
    check because it was cheaper interest than the bank could offer.

    We have considered seeing an attorney about filing bankruptcy. Even typing the word
    brings guilt to me. My dad was a minister and we ALWAYS paid our debts!! And so have we….
    we will have 50 yrs. together next year. But we know at this rate of min. pay’ts., we will never
    see these debts paid off.

    Your comments about debt being just debt, not morality, were so helpful. I had not thought much
    about the interest we’ve paid them all these years. Some of these cards we’ve had for 15 to 20 yrs. So I think we will see an attorney to look into what we can to eliminate this debt or at least
    see if they might settle for a lesser amt. I want to be fair about this. We had a plan in place…a good plan. And if my husband had not wound up in ICU fighting for his life, I would not be writing this note…we would be debt-free. We have no other debt or we could not have even kept up with min. pay’ts! But I am watching now the interest rates climb on these cards….making it more & more impossible to ever get them paid.

    Thanks for your words of enlightenment and encouragement about ‘debt!’
    I feel like the load is manageable now….if the attorney will be as helpful as you have been.

    Thanks….and God bless you!
    J. & E.

  • Jo & Earl

    Hi Steve….We are an older couple…67 and 71…and the past few years have been filled with hospitalizations, Dr’s appts., new drug prescriptions, & pacemaker checks. My husband was just 6 mos. from full retirement & also full Social Security benefits when his sudden health issues brought all this into our lives. Even with a Drs. statement for light duty after his “recovery,” he was not allowed to go back to his job. Since late Fall of 2004 we have barely been getting by, trying to keep the medical bills paid and covering the ever-increasing costs of daily life.

    Now I’m the lone caregiver for my 90 yr. mother who has Alzheimer’s. We are using 70% of
    our retirement to pay for Medicare supplements and still not staying ahead of the game. We have
    dipped into our savings for many of these expenses….and the credit card debt has increased ….
    house repairs, sewer line collapsing, frig. going out, even purchasing a used car with a convenience
    check because it was cheaper interest than the bank could offer.

    We have considered seeing an attorney about filing bankruptcy. Even typing the word
    brings guilt to me. My dad was a minister and we ALWAYS paid our debts!! And so have we….
    we will have 50 yrs. together next year. But we know at this rate of min. pay’ts., we will never
    see these debts paid off.

    Your comments about debt being just debt, not morality, were so helpful. I had not thought much
    about the interest we’ve paid them all these years. Some of these cards we’ve had for 15 to 20 yrs. So I think we will see an attorney to look into what we can to eliminate this debt or at least
    see if they might settle for a lesser amt. I want to be fair about this. We had a plan in place…a good plan. And if my husband had not wound up in ICU fighting for his life, I would not be writing this note…we would be debt-free. We have no other debt or we could not have even kept up with min. pay’ts! But I am watching now the interest rates climb on these cards….making it more & more impossible to ever get them paid.

    Thanks for your words of enlightenment and encouragement about ‘debt!’
    I feel like the load is manageable now….if the attorney will be as helpful as you have been.

    Thanks….and God bless you!
    J. & E.

    • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

      I frequently see people making the wrong decisions on how to best deal with their because of “guilt” instead of what is logically best and the best way to move forward. I realize this is a difficult time for you but if you don’t put yourself first, who will?

      If you have not read it yet this other article will be right on target for you.

      Thank you for the kind words.

  • Robertplattbell

    You make a good point. And anyone can find themselves in massive debt, regardless of income level. The very poor and the middle class and even upper middle class can end up living “paycheck to paycheck” – some people just have nicer junk, is all.

    I had a friend who bought a $340,000 SeaRay Boat (the kind touted by financial “guru” Sooze Orman). When I asked him if he could afford it, he replied “the bank thinks so”.

    Ouch. Wrong answer. And of course, it was financed over 10 years or more, so he was “upside down” on the boat for most of the loan. And then the recession hit and his business suffered and it was hard to make the payments and….whoops! Bankrupt on $100,000 a year.

    The problem is we have an entire society that promotes consumerism and materialism over more spiritual values. The television is a powerful “teaching machine” that is being used to hammer in the ideas of buying and leasing new cars, taking out payday loans, renting to own furniture, and hundreds of other bad bargains from things as large as overpriced mini-mansions to things as trivial as delivery pizza. Bad bargains all, for anyone on any income level, particularly when paid for with a credit card.

    I read online that 70% of Americans claim to pay off their credit cards every month. Yet the credit card companies – who have access to the real data – tell us that 70% carry a balance. Clearly 40% of us are lying – to ourselves at least.

    There is no point in being “ashamed” in getting caught in the debt wringer, as nearly everyone in this country does it at one time in their lives. What we should be is not ashamed – but ANGRY that we allow companies to continually entice us and our neighbors – and increasingly our children – with these bad debt bargains.

    And unfortunately, they do not teach financial management in schools at all – even in college. No one, no where in my life, ever sat me down and said “here’s how to balance a check book” or “hey, credit cards will mess you up BADLY!” or “Be skeptical of loan offers in the mail” or “buying brand new cars is one sure way to squander a lot of money!”

    So never be ashamed of being in debt. You fell for the bait – welcome to the club! If you can learn from it and start over again and this time not make the same mistakes, then many good things may come of it.

    We all wish we could have “do overs” in life. Heck, I wish I could go back in time and buy Microsoft stock back in 1983 – or those winning lottery tickets, for that matter. But you can’t. The best you can do is pick up and move on.

    I got off the materialism bandwagon this year – sold most of what I owned and paid off nearly $60,000 in credit card debt (ouch!!!!) and you know what? I am a lot happier. I own less “things” – things that I thought I would “never sell” – but I am finding that I am happier without them. Less house, less car, less subscription services, less consumption. More time for contemplative thinking and enjoying what is really important. And yes, it has meant a much improved relationship.

    If you are in debt and it is “killing you” then find a way out and move on with life. There is life after “things” – a much better life!

  • Robertplattbell

    You make a good point. And anyone can find themselves in massive debt, regardless of income level. The very poor and the middle class and even upper middle class can end up living “paycheck to paycheck” – some people just have nicer junk, is all.

    I had a friend who bought a $340,000 SeaRay Boat (the kind touted by financial “guru” Sooze Orman). When I asked him if he could afford it, he replied “the bank thinks so”.

    Ouch. Wrong answer. And of course, it was financed over 10 years or more, so he was “upside down” on the boat for most of the loan. And then the recession hit and his business suffered and it was hard to make the payments and….whoops! Bankrupt on $100,000 a year.

    The problem is we have an entire society that promotes consumerism and materialism over more spiritual values. The television is a powerful “teaching machine” that is being used to hammer in the ideas of buying and leasing new cars, taking out payday loans, renting to own furniture, and hundreds of other bad bargains from things as large as overpriced mini-mansions to things as trivial as delivery pizza. Bad bargains all, for anyone on any income level, particularly when paid for with a credit card.

    I read online that 70% of Americans claim to pay off their credit cards every month. Yet the credit card companies – who have access to the real data – tell us that 70% carry a balance. Clearly 40% of us are lying – to ourselves at least.

    There is no point in being “ashamed” in getting caught in the debt wringer, as nearly everyone in this country does it at one time in their lives. What we should be is not ashamed – but ANGRY that we allow companies to continually entice us and our neighbors – and increasingly our children – with these bad debt bargains.

    And unfortunately, they do not teach financial management in schools at all – even in college. No one, no where in my life, ever sat me down and said “here’s how to balance a check book” or “hey, credit cards will mess you up BADLY!” or “Be skeptical of loan offers in the mail” or “buying brand new cars is one sure way to squander a lot of money!”

    So never be ashamed of being in debt. You fell for the bait – welcome to the club! If you can learn from it and start over again and this time not make the same mistakes, then many good things may come of it.

    We all wish we could have “do overs” in life. Heck, I wish I could go back in time and buy Microsoft stock back in 1983 – or those winning lottery tickets, for that matter. But you can’t. The best you can do is pick up and move on.

    I got off the materialism bandwagon this year – sold most of what I owned and paid off nearly $60,000 in credit card debt (ouch!!!!) and you know what? I am a lot happier. I own less “things” – things that I thought I would “never sell” – but I am finding that I am happier without them. Less house, less car, less subscription services, less consumption. More time for contemplative thinking and enjoying what is really important. And yes, it has meant a much improved relationship.

    If you are in debt and it is “killing you” then find a way out and move on with life. There is life after “things” – a much better life!

  • Chris

    Steve,
    What I realized by reading the words of the Bible, is that We have been Social Engineered to death. The credit companies of Chase, Mastercard, Visa, etc. extended and extended this to us to have us fall into the trap. We are slaves to these banks and Elites who entrapped us. It is going to take A LONG TIME to get clean and get right and get to Zero. God help us all and bless us. I hope we get out of this misery quick.

  • John

    My wife and I decided to file chapter 7. It was done so with much soul searching and research. The thing is we saw the “Finacial Crisis Ahead” sign many years ago, as we continued to spend and takes out new loans to cover old balances. A never ending cycle to say the least. We both have decent jobs and make decent money. We are current on all obligations. Although while being current, there is very little left at the end of the month, some times nothing in fact.

    This past month while paying bills It became glaring clear that we could not continue down this path anymore. I have a strong belief/faith in God, and was initially against bankruptcy. This for all the reasons we have read and heard countless times in our lives. I considered debt settlement/management, consolidation loans (more of the same problem) and bankruptcy.

    I knew we had to do something, while still current on payments, it was clear that it was no longer sustainable. It only guaranteed emotional stress and no future to continue on our current path.

    In doing the research I became increasingly more skeptical of the debt management/settlement scenarios. Most seemed corrupt and owned by the very banks that issued the cards. So I knew that was a “no win” situation. Additionaly in the end, my credit would still be ruined and the creditors would still be calling, even if they did what they promised. As a side note, I don’t believe it is coincidence that we are being bombarded with the “Get out of Debt Now” ads on TV and radio. Im sure it has something to do with the impending regulation changes. Which to me only makes them more suspect for integrity.

    We chose bankruptcy for the immediacy of the initial relief of impending phone calls and the protection of the law in regards to the bankruptcy process. It was done so with some guilt,ebarrassment,fear and nervousness.
    The thing is, now that the decision has been made, those feelings are gone. My/our God is a God of forgivness, it is also a Constitutional right as an American to ask for and recieve relief. Although we have certainly been humbled by our past overspending habits, we are now grateful for the opportunity to start over, learning from our past mistakes.

  • Richard

    I just watched the video very drawn out and very one sided it seems but it brings up some very good points. I think there is some merit there. i wonder why they didnt let the consumers that had great resilts with debt settlement speak? It is pretty clear that there are several crooks out there in this industry and i see the need for regulation, but after doing quite a bit of research it seems that this is for sure a very good alternative if done right. I am working with a company that is and has already been a HUGE Help. There is always to sides to the story. Thank you again steve for your advice and help you are great

    • John

      Richard, what is the name of this company?

    • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

      I’m not surprised the consumers, not on the agenda were not allowed to speak at the Senate hearings on debt settlement. It’s not a walk in off the street thing. It also did not sound like there had been an official request and advance acceptance for their testimony.

      Also, it’s interesting that even though the visitors were at the hearing, I don’t remember seeing USOBA send out their written testimony they would have offered and submitted for appearance. To me, a little familiar with Congressional hearings, it seemed more like a PR stunt.

      I am curious what makes you believe debt settlement at this time, in the face of a possible passage of the Debt Settlement Consumer Protection Act which may close the majority of debt settlement companies with front loaded fees, is an acceptable risk? Wouldn’t it be better to wait to see if this bill passes to see if it puts the company you are considering out of business? I’d hate for you to lose your money. If the companies close it will be doubtful you’ll get a refund.

      Steve

  • Jon Doe

    Dear Steve,

    Thank you for the great article and the words of wisdom. You right when you say that we must not be judged by others for our debt. It just happened. I cant blame anyone, it is just mistakes that I continually made for some reason or the other. I sincerely am sorry for the trouble my family and I are facing because of the debts and I want to move on. Your article really brightened up my day.

    God bless you. I will certainly try to move on from now on and not only try to solve this problem but endeavour to stick closer to God as well.

    You are a God-send.

    Thanks.

    Jon

    • Richard

      I read your note and must say that I stop beating myself up and came up with a plan to deal with my debt situation. The first thing I did was to get 3 sources to try and help. I went to a debt counseling, a debt settlement and a bankruptcy attorney and explored all three to see which one would work best for me. After waying out the options of bankruptcy and the risks.
      -On my credit for 10 years and the fact that the attorney could not guarantee me a chapter 7 and instead he assured me that a 13 would be very possible instead and a fee of 3,500 dollars. I knew that there had to be another answer i thought.

      I then looked at a debt mangement company and it seemed as if this would be the best alternative but as it turns out I would be paying around the same amount that I am paying now in minimum payments so even though at first it seemed like the right move it was not to my best interest.

      So after all of this I contacted a reputable debt settlement company and that is where I found the best option for several reasons.

      1) they charged a flat fee which turned out to be 3,000 which was 10% of my debt amount with credit restoration for free to address the credit issues during the process.
      2) They put me on a plan of savings that would allow me to get completely out of debt in 22 months and back on track.
      3) they modified my home mortgage and lowered my payments from 1826.00 a month to around 926,25 a month.
      4) in addition they modified my car loan from 423.00 a month to 292.22

      It has been a complete lift off of my shoulders and I just want you to know how greatful I am for your post. thank you again for your help in making the right decision god bless u

      • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

        Richard,

        What’s your plan when the debt settlement company goes out of business when the Debt Settlement Consumer Protection Act of 2010 is passed?

        Steve

      • Richard

        What protection act are u talking about? can you give me some information on this thank you so much for your help. The company is not just in debt settlement so I believe I should be ok?????????????

      • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

        Richard,

        See The Debt Settlement Consumer Protection Act of 2010.

        I think you need to do more homework.

        Steve

  • Bird

    Hi Steve,

    Thank you so much for your article I am about to turn 50 yrs old and I have a little over $30,000 (this is joint) debt. Do you think I can save money and pay off this debt before I retire or should I declare bankruptcy? Also, I seriously need help with budgeting. Can you recommend a link where I can find a good one?

    • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

      Bird,

      Go talk to a local bankruptcy attorney before you do anything. Get the facts and then you can make a good decision about what to do.

      A good self-help budgeting tool is Mvelopes.

      Steve

  • Theresa

    Dear Steve,
    I am very grateful for reading your articles, especially these from folks like me and your kind responses!!! I face going to court this Wed., Dec. 9th. I am one of the many who was scammed by Allegro Law. I am scared and humiliated.
    I also have hope and faith that this will all work out with
    God’s help and the support of my family and friends. Thanks
    for being a beacon of light in these troubling times for
    many!!!

    • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

      Theresa,

      Thank you for your kind words.

      Steve

  • Karin Potgieter

    I am the sister of a young mother of 3 children. Her ex-husband committed suicide last year in February, leaving her without a father for her children and lots of debt. I have been trying to support her financially but am afraid that it is not always possible for me to do it. My mother and father who are pensioners also live with her to help her coping with the children alone. She is a teacher at C R Swart primary school in Middelburg Mpumalanga. She earns about R7500 per month and has to pay rent of R5500, plus a car payment of R1800, a domestic worker with which she is not able to be without, as my elderly parents cannot be expected to work in the house as well as help with the children. The ages of the children are 12, 10 and 6.
    My sister is really not coping financially at all. I dont know what else to to than to request your help in this regard. Is it possible for your to contact her telephonically, as she hardly ever has time on her cellphone to call anybody.
    Please could you contact her or my mother, as I fear for her mental well-being and the well-being of the children as well as my parents. God bless you and thank you.

  • Lisa

    Steve,

    Thank you so much for this site. I watched your YouTube video and have read many of the posts here. I’ve done a lot of research already, and some preliminary work toward filing Ch. 7, but I understand that each case is different and there’s no one place I can go to get all the answers to my questions except from the attorney. What I was really looking for online was some perspective from someone who’s been through it. Your kind words mean more to me than I can say. I’ve gone from someone whose personality is very even keel and easygoing to a person taking Zoloft and Ambien (which doesn’t work for me) and waking up at 2, 3 and 4 am every night sick with fear and worry.

    We are just beginning this journey and I’m still struggling with guilt and remorse because unlike many people who get into debt as a result of a failed business (like you) or medical bills, my debts are a result of 15 years of stupidly overspending. I will come back to this site for moral support because I still feel like a worthless idiot.
    Maybe someday that feeling will go away. Thank you.

  • Lu

    Steve,

    I found your website and this article just when I needed it most. I think God sent me here. Thank you for the article above. I lost my job this past May and it’s the first time in my life I’ve been unemployed. People do judge others about their debts and no one really should. There but for the grace of God go I is what they should say.

    • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

      Lu,

      Thank you for your kind words and comments.

      Steve

  • Katie

    “Debt is debt, it is not the sum of your life and it certainly does not define you. Your actions define you. Your kindness and gratitude define you.”

    Thank you for this site, and your thoughtful words.

    You have brought me to tears, and not the stressd out, horrible kind that have woken me up in the night the past few months.

    I made an appointment last week with an attorney for later this week. The breaking point for me has been the unbearable embarassment of my creditors calling my parents home trying to reach me. It was so much easier to bear when I kept it secret, but I realize now that I was just choosing to ignore it.

    I cannot continue to suffer every month, spending only dollars on groceries so that I can scrounge minimum payments to pay credit cards that I WILL NEVER be able to pay off at this rate. I made many mistakes in college with credit, I worked hard to pay off half of my $30,000 in debt through a debt management plan, but recent cutbacks in salary and overtime have made it impossibel for me to make my payments. Do I have to suffer for my whole life for financial mistakes made when I was in my late teens and early twenties?

    Your words are encouraging and caring, and I just wanted to say thank you.

    • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

      Katie,

      No, thank you.

      I sense you will be just fine after this event in your life. It may take time for the old you to resurface but in the long run, you will be fine.

      I always say that there is no sense wasting a perfectly good mistake. I’m confident that you will take what you’ve learned from this experience and use that knowledge and those new skills to make the rest of your life better.

      You are not a failure. I’m proud of you for making the hard, but right choice.

      Big hug.

      Steve

      • Katie

        HI ALL!

        This is Katie again, I just wanted to touch base…its been over 6 months since my last post…and what a difference a little faith, time, and persistence can make.

        I made the hard, but right, decision to declare bankruptcy. (Something I should have done years before, but instead of listening to my gut, I fell into the traps of a debt management program which was way over my head and totally unaffordable).

        It was not a fun process, but it was not as difficult as I had imagined in all my late night episodes of stress and sleeplessness. My attorney was a good man. The phone calls stopped instantly, the rest of the process took a bit longer. The day in front of the trustee I was TERRIFIED…but surprised to see a room full of people who looked an awful lot like myself….ready to move on, ashamed of our mistakes, but not ashamed of who we are who or the right we have to a fresh start.

        I can’t say I was celebrating following my meeting of the creditors, but I definitely felt a huge load of my back for the first time in years.

        I have since been discharged…the attorney has been paid in full…My husband and I are living on cash and doing well, have some money (not much, but a little) saved…he has a great new job, and we have baby due in September….yikes!!!!!!

        There is a light at the end….do not give up hope or be too hard on yourself.

        Do yourself a favor…If you talk to a debt counseling agency about your options, I would suggest also meeting with a bankruptcy attorney to discuss them. Always best to get both sides ….and if you truly cannot afford the payment offered by a debt counseling agency, than DO NOT SIGN UP…you will spend to much time spinning your wheels and increasing your frustration.

        Steve – I want to thank you again for your website…he really spoke to me on a day when I needed someone to understand. I cannot express to you enough how much it meant to me on that day in August last year to come across this page and read your words. They were a huge comfort to me on a horrible day during a difficult time in my life.

        Thanks again.

        Katie

      • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

        Katie,

        I’m going to say it, but in a good way, “I told you so”, LOL. It’s so awesome to hear you took action and made a difficult decision that resulted in a resolution and fresh start.

        I’m really, really, really proud of you. Your child now has an opportunity to be born into a better situation.

        Big hug.

        Steve

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