Lacking Money, Not Integrity

Lindsey has a $47,000 loan with no collateral on it. She hasn't paid in over a year, and the lender offered to discount it to $19,000. Is it morally right to accept such a steep discount?

QUESTION: Lindsey in Oklahoma has a $47,000 loan with no collateral on it. She hasn’t paid on it in over a year, and the lender has offered to discount it to $19,000. As a Christian, is it morally all right to accept such a steep discount? Not in one case, as Dave explains.

ANSWER: Morally, a good way to run your ethics is this: by the Golden Rule. Do unto others as you’d have them do unto you. I’ve had people who were broke and couldn’t pay me what they owed me, and I’ve had people who could afford to pay me but didn’t because they were crooks, and I’ve been broke and couldn’t pay. All three are different.

If you were owed $47,000 by me, and you were accurately convinced that I was broke, then you would take what you can get from me. You’d be happy that you got something. If you owed me $47,000, based on your situation, I would take $19,000 and feel very blessed. I wouldn’t count on getting $47,000, and that’s not because of integrity. You simply don’t have it.

If you have a $100,000 ring on your finger, I’d say sell the ring and pay what you owe. If you have any money stashed away somewhere, you need to write a check and pay them, but I’m assuming you don’t have that. I don’t think settling is morally wrong when someone doesn’t have the money to pay and is honest about that.