Doubtless

It happens frequently — even in a small, part-time law office like mine. People come to see me with a financial problem and in the course of our discussions they ask, “I suppose I could just not pay that debt. I mean, what could they do?”

Then I take them through the litany of things “they” could do. And after we talk about loss of vehicles and tax liens and lawsuits, the typical response is, “Well, that’s not so bad.”

Usually at that point I pause, ever so slightly. And almost every time, the individual adds, “I just don’t feel right about it, though.”

That’s a wonderful moment. In that instant, you see a person regain respect for self and connect to their values. When that resurgence begins to build is the moment I explain how I feel about legal measures to reduce or eliminate debt. “The government, through our creditor and bankruptcy laws, has made protection available for those who truly need it — and frankly, that’s not many of us.”

Then I take my clients back through the things they can do. Like adjusting their lifestyles and, thus, their spending habits, and selling things they don’t need. As momentum grows, most of these people begin to see some possibilities. They see the long road ahead and accept the responsibility of digging out. As is often said, you don’t usually get into debt in a hurry — therefore, you don’t get out in a hurry either.

That’s the way that most of life’s troubles are. We move so fast sometimes that we take a few steps down a path that seems a little strange. And rather than check our bearings, we move further. Over time we become comfortable with where we are.

And then something stops us. A consequence attaches to us and things grind to a halt. This new and peculiar environment disorients us. We tell ourselves, “It’s okay to act differently here.”

But most of us know better. Despite the pull, that small voice tells us what is right for us.

You may not have strong spiritual beliefs. But I believe that the small voice is a clear channel to the one who divided right from wrong when it came into this world. The same one who gives us things we can do to get back to where we need to be. The same one who extends grace when we’ve done all that we can do.

Regardless of the struggle you face, or how far you will have to travel to make things right, small steps are available. And as a believer, I’m convinced that God views us more in the light of where we’re heading than in a snapshot of where we are at any given moment.

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