Q. If a Christian is in dire straits financially, is it a sin to get a fresh start by bankruptcy as long as he or she did not purposely rack it all up with that as a goal?
A. Failure to repay a debt is a sin because in effecting you’re stealing from your creditor (Exodus 20:15) who loaned you the money in good faith. You should make every effort to work out a re-payment plan with the people you owe money to, even if it takes a long time to do it.
If for some reason that’s impossible to do, and you’re forced to file for bankruptcy, remember that the Lord knew all your sins in advance and has already forgiven every one of them.