If a Christian must file for bankruptcy, is he still obligated to pay off his debts?


If one borrows money and they get behind the eight ball, if you will, so they file bankruptcy, are they morally responsible to pay the borrowed amount back? I said if they did it with the intent of trying to rip someone off that was a sin, but I didn't see how someone who innocently borrowed then got stuck like in today's economy with job loss needed to pay it back. Another person brought up Matthew 18. The King forgave the debt. I said if the lender wished to forgive the debt in part or in whole, then the person is not responsible morally. It would be a sin to not pay back 100%. 


The whole concept of debt is that once a debt is forgiven, it no longer exists. If it were otherwise, what would we do who have had the debt of our sins forgiven? "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 6:23). Once our sins are forgiven, we do not have to continue to repay them.

The United States bankruptcy laws do make answering this question more difficult. There are different forms of bankruptcy, some block creditors from demanding payment but still leave the obligation in place. In these cases the courts set up a payment plan which the creditors are forced to accept and the debtor is forced to pay through garnished wages. For this type of bankruptcy, a Christian must met his obligation.

A Christian ought to be responsible with his obligations. He should not be incurring debt unless it is absolutely necessary because with debt comes a lose of freedom. "The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender" (Proverbs 22:7). He should take his commitments seriously. But sometimes things happen which are out of our control. We have to live with the consequences. While I discourage bankruptcy, when it is the best way to handle a situation, then we abide by the terms given.

So, no, if a bankruptcy completely dismisses a debt, then there is not requirement to pay back the debt. I think it is nice when a Christian is able to do it anyway because it shows an attitude of putting the needs of another person before their own, but it isn't something that must be done.