DEAR BILLY GRAHAM: Somehow, I’ve managed to get into debt way over my head, and a friend of mine says I ought to take the easy way out, which (he says) would be to declare bankruptcy. Would this be wrong? — E.L.
DEAR E.L.: I’m not a lawyer, of course, although I know our legal system does provide ways to eliminate debt through bankruptcy.
But I hope you won’t take this route unless there is no other way to overcome your financial problems. One reason is because I’ve known people who thoughtlessly went into bankruptcy, only to discover that it caused them far more problems than it solved. In other words, don’t think of it as an easy way out of your problems (as your friend suggests); that may not be true.
But I also hope you’ll realize that debts don’t simply vanish if we take bankruptcy. Instead, someone — the bank, your credit card provider, anyone else who’s lent to you — ends up losing money. Others pay, even if you don’t.
How can you overcome your problems? First, ask yourself how you got into debt in the first place. Then take practical steps to keep from going further into debt. Lock your credit cards away; get a realistic budget and keep it; learn to say no to things you don’t really need. If possible, seek credit counseling to help you repay what you owe.
Above all, turn this problem — and your whole life — over to Jesus Christ. He’ll help you discover what’s really important in life, and also help you become more disciplined. Jesus said, “Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6:33).
Write “My Answer,” Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, 1 Billy Graham Parkway, Charlotte, N.C., 28201; or go to BillyGraham.org.
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