Remember, if you will, a time when credit was issued by local vendors for the purchase of grains and meats or extended on the promise that crop and flock would suffice as adequate consideration. Most of you are saying when has that ever happened? Long before many of you were born. Long before I was born!
Today, it's plastic cards, plastic cars and plastic dreams. The $30,000 millionaire with properties, vehicles and tons of sour investments, reaching as far as the crossed eye is able to see. As if that weren't enough, the line that's keeping financial infrastructures the world over afloat is the one word that makes everyone cringe: DEBT.
Debt everywhere, from the national deficit of every world power to the dollar you borrowed from your friend yesterday to buy a cheeseburger. One would say, debt makes the world go round, but it is only because of debt that things are as hard as they are on the countless lives who must endure its wrath. Debt crowds, chokes and restricts one's ability to live a life of peace and comfort. Cloaked in the false promise of instant gratification, debt peeks its ugly head and snatches most of its victims by surprise.
If this has happened to you, (and if you are reading this, good bet it has), then you must ask yourself one important question: Now what?
Well, in a world where virtually anything is possible, there are always options, so long as we have the breath, mind and heart to pursue them.
When a person is suffering from the agony of being in debt, they must often face the music, that sad song of incapacity, not able to fulfill a contract that was entered, lawfully or not. This is when two striking opposites collide. Justice and Mercy.
Justice is to give to a person what they deserve. Most of you might be thinking that means to cast judgment on all those that have aggrieved you. But what about those who seek restitution from your acts. After all, it is a safe bet that all have committed some act for which they are to be held accountable.
Mercy, on the other hand, is to give to a person that which they do not deserve. It is forgiveness of the acts that they committed voluntarily.
In most faiths and belief systems around the world, these two concepts are intertwined and contradictory. How does one get what they deserve, in justice, and also what they don't deserve, in mercy, all at the same time? I'll leave that to your deliberations for now.
The point is: with debt of any kind, it must either be paid or forgiven.
Fortunately for those of us who live in these United States of America, both options exist.
It is good to pay one's debts, but for most, like the shady vermin it is, debt is not often quick to discover (or the debtor is not often quick to recognize the hole they are digging for themselves, and rest-assured no person is exempt from this failure. Did I say no person?)
It is also good to forgive one of their debts. When it is unmanageable and one only sees themselves paying interest on a debt that they will never pay down, if they are even able to do that. When the debt comes by way of a poor investment or an unforeseen event. When it comes by way of our free-willed actions, it is still good to forgive debt.
Because the bottom line is that, be it monetary or moral, debt exists in all of us. Imagine a world, a universe for that matter, where debts were never forgiven. Then words like "hope" would have to be redacted and striken from all dictionaries and from the tongues of all mankind.
Fortunately, that is not the case. Hope is alive while we live. The question is, do we choose to ignore this hope, or do we constantly strive for it, keeping the reality of living in a scary world firmly planted under our feet?
In this country, our laws are designed to help a person receive forgiveness of most debts, a forgiveness that most debtors anticipate with earnest.
The laws have been enacted under Title 11 of the United States Code and are known as the laws of Bankrutpcy.
Yikes! I actually said the word, but not so fast. Bankruptcy is actually a word that for millions of Americans becomes their saving grace, the one thing that allows them to recover their lives and sanity, the one thing that allows for "hope" to reenter the picture.
If you find yourself in a stifling financial struggle and you see very little hope on the horizon, we are here for you, here to offer that hope we all desperately seek and here to help you avoid the traps of living in a world ruled by debt.