by Katie Shockley

The majority of bankruptcies in the United States involves medical debt. Approximately “17 percent of all adults in America struggle to pay their medical bills.”1 RIP Medical Debt is a non-profit organization that “locates, buys and forgives medical debt.”2 According to RIP Medical Debt, “The situation is critical for many of us. We all know someone in our family or community who is struggling to survive under a growing pile of medical bills. Some of us are going under.”3 “Once medical debt is purchased, RIP then forgives the debt and informs those helped that they are forever free from that particular debt.”4

 “God is the true owner of the land. . . . the idea of forgiveness. . . . [and] a commitment to protect the most vulnerable in society.”5 Everything we have comes from God, and we are not to exploit what we have to further harm our most vulnerable neighbors. Good stewardship includes helping others.

As medical costs continue to rise in this country, families make choices to sell their homes or take second jobs to keep up with their medical bills. For some families, the debt becomes too large to ever pay off. Organizations offering medical debt forgiveness protect some of the most vulnerable in our society: chronically ill individuals. Our participation in medical debt forgiveness is one way God has given us to have a hand in making financial freedom a reality for vulnerable families.

  1. How have you witnessed or experienced the impact of medical debt? How would it feel for someone struggling with medical debt to be “forever free” from it?
  2. How do the three theological commitments mentioned by the student book author tie into the Year of Jubilee? How does protecting the most vulnerable in our society relate to good stewardship?
  3. What organizations in your community help families with medical debt? How can you and your faith community help families with medical debt?


 [1]From RIP Medical Debt, “Did You Know?” (ripmedicaldebt.org/).

2From RIP Medical Debt, home page.

3From RIP Medical Debt, “Did You Know?”

4From RIP Medical Debt, “How It Works.”

5From Adult Bible Studies, Spring 2018, by Michelle Morris (Cokesbury, 2017); page 84.

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