The British historian Niall Ferguson, in his book The Ascent of Money, says that one of the reasons for America’s prosperity is bankruptcy. He points out that while debtors in England used to languish in gaol for years, there were no debtors’ prisons in the United States, and for most of its history every American has had the right to file for bankruptcy. But how did this lead to prosperity? Ferguson says it gave people a chance to start over again, and is ‘one of the distinctive quirks of American capitalism.’
I don’t know what you think about it, but it did work in the case of ketchup king John Henry Heinz and car magnate Henry Ford. But one thing is for sure, in the spiritual realm that’s the way God works. Forgiveness and a chance to start again with a clean slate is what the Gospel is all about.