Friday, November 20, 2009

The Spiritual Perils of Going Through Foreclosure

Whether or not you have noticed, there is a movement among a number of people who say that if homeowners are underwater they should just walk away and allow their house to go into foreclosure to get out from underneath the debt. There are others who say that the homeowner should try to get a loan modification.

Please consider the article “How Banks View Loan Modifications.”

When I read this article, I was very disturbed that the writer seemed to say that a homeowner should not feel guilty and ashamed. The subtext seemed to be “The banks are trying to emotionally manipulate you to think that you are the bad guy, so get back at them by determining to not feel guilty about going through foreclosure.”

This is wrong on so many levels.

I know by sad experience (though not with foreclosure) that when a person makes a conscious decision to not feel sorry for something they have done wrong, they are deadening their conscience. It is refusing to sacrifice a broken heart and contrite spirit. Unless they realize what has happened and speedily repent, the Spirit will cease striving with them and they will become as the Nephites of old in Mormon’s day—good for nothing but to be hewn down and cast into the fire.

I can’t emphasize enough how DANGEROUS this spiritual state is.
Repenting of it requires:
  • Praying for forgiveness for the decision to not feel sorry
  • Praying for forgiveness for all other sins committed which caused the decision
  • Praying to overcome all temptation to shrink from the pain of a broken heart
I’m not talking about a few sporadic prayers. Constant prayer is required. It’s a very hard and painful process. You DON’T EVER want to go there.

Back to the foreclosure issue. Please don’t misunderstand me; I am not making any kind of judgment of people who have their house foreclosed. There are all kinds of ways people get into this predicament. I just want to point out the spiritual dangers and consequences of going through it. To not do what you promise to do in a contract is a sin, but there is a difference between deliberate delinquency and being forced into something by circumstances. Having nothing to pay is one thing, but deliberately withholding payment while possessing the means to pay is another.

Either way, the Atonement of Christ covers all sins and transgressions. God can forgive and God can provide. But of course we have to do everything in our power to avoid sin first.

If you happen to be getting the phone calls and letters from the banks that the article describes, realize that it amounts to spiritual abuse.
14 The Lord will enter into judgment with the ancients of his people, and the princes thereof: for ye have eaten up the vineyard; the spoil of the poor is in your houses.
15 What mean ye that ye beat my people to pieces, and grind the faces of the poor? saith the Lord God of hosts. (Isaiah 3:14-15)
Fortunately Christ has told us how we should act if we experience this type treatment.
43 ¶ Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.
44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.
46 For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?
47 And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? (Matthew 5:43-47)
By doing this, the unfortunate experience of foreclosure can be transformed from an embittering, confidence-destroying, and spiritually dangerous experience into a refiner’s fire that yields greater charity and a godly character.