Doctor Tom…

Halloween is a long-gone memory, but zombies are in the news.  Zombie debt and zombie debt scavengers are prowling in personal and corporate financial fields1.  Zombie debt refers to obligations you once had, but thought the matter had been settled.   They are raised again to haunt you.  You may have legitimately had a debt discharged if you declared bankruptcy.  The statute of limitations (typically around 7 years) may have passed on an unpaid bill and you can no longer be sued.  Identity theft can result in you owing money on something you did not authorize.

Zombie debt scavengers are individuals or organizations that try to get you to pay on a previous debt you thought was not active.  Scavengers, both investment and fly-by-night companies, buy your old balances from the original creditor (or collection agency) for pennies on the dollar.  There are websites where you can purchase zombie debts.  Older and less collectible debts are the cheapest to buy.  Scavengers then try to make a profit by having you pay something. 

Tactics may include threatening to sue after the statute of limitations has passed, or scavengers may report an old debt as a new one; both tactics are illegal.  Commonly, zombie debt scavengers will use lies or harassment to get you to pay a small amount.  However, if you make even a small payment, the statute of limitations is reset and they can sue to collect the full amount of the debt.

There are times in our everyday life where we encounter zombie-like debts.  You may have offended someone, or even committed a sin against them.  They say you are forgiven of the trespass, but at a later time it is resurrected.  Often it is in the heat of an argument unrelated to the prior incident.  Maybe you have done the same thing to another person.  We pray sincerely to be forgiven of our trespasses and forget the proviso connected to the prayer (Luke 11:4), “for we also forgive everyone who sins against us.”

If you are like me, you may have also met someone who is a zombie-like debt scavenger.  These individuals have learned something about your past and use it to harm or embarrass you.  Once, in a group of people, a man said to me something like, “Hey, didn’t you graduate from one of those Bible-banging seminaries?”  Clearly, the intent was not to congratulate me on my evangelical education.  Perhaps you have been confronted by an individual who suggested if you were nice to them they would not tell anyone you once were a ____ (fill in the blank). 

The Bible encourages us to confess our sins, to God (Matthew 6:12) and to other believers (James 5:16).  Jesus Christ is the mediator of the new covenant (Hebrews 9:15); His sacrifice paid the penalty for our trespasses, yet daily we must ask to be forgiven of our sins.  The good news is once we are repentant and forgiven, God will never bring our sins back from the grave (Isaiah 43:25).  However, we must remember the Lord has no statute of limitations on unrepentant sin (Romans 2:5-6).

If we love God for His grace and mercy to pardon us, should we not also love others as we have been loved (Mark 12:30-31)?  Stay out of zombie graveyards lest you see the settled trespasses of others and are tempted to become a zombie-like debt scavenger.  That’s not such a scary thought, is it?

Published by normdave

We live and travel full time in our fifth wheel or cargo trailer. We work for the Lord Jesus Christ in Disaster Relief Ministry. When not doing any of the above we try to have as much fun as we can. Possible items you might find here, in no particular order, dirt bikes, quads, hiking, camping, desert living, building projects, stained glass projects, our family, Bible study, RVing stuff, nutrition comments, and just about anything else we can think of....

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