1 Corinthians 6:1,5-7 (NIV)

If any of you has a dispute with another, dare he take it before the ungodly for judgment instead of before the saints? ...

I say this to shame you. Is it possible that there is nobody among you wise enough to judge a dispute between believers? But instead, one brother goes to law against another--and this in front of unbelievers!

The very fact that you have lawsuits among you means you have been completely defeated already. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be cheated?

Thank God we live in a country where we can appeal to an impartial judge when we are wronged. But we live in a lawsuit happy society. At the least provocation, people say "I'll see you in court." Once the two parties get to court, there is no reconciliation. Oh there might be a settlement but trust is destroyed. Many times people see the courtroom as a means of gain rather than as a means of justice.

Paul is talking about one Christian suing another Christian. There'll be disagreements between believers, but the courtrooms of the world are no place to settle such matters. Christians have a higher purpose and a higher authority. Jesus said that people will know his followers by their love for one another. Suing someone is not an act of love. The bible says that it is better that we accept the wrongdoing against us than to take another Christian to court. The name and reputation of our God is to be guarded at any cost.

John 13:34-35 (NIV)

"A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."

Jesus gives the steps to take to resolve disputes between fellow believers in the following verse.

Matthew 18:15-17 (NIV)

"If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over. But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that 'every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.' If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector.

What is meant by a pagan and a tax collector? Those are metaphors for an unbeliever. I suppose you could sue them at that point. But how is a Christian to treat an unbeliever? Like someone who needs to be introduced to Christ.


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