To Sue or Not to Sue?

To Sue or Not to Sue?

Brent Smith

      Litigation is all to common these days and it is such a shame to find brothers and sisters in Christ suing one another. It is not, however, a new phenomenon for such was the case when the apostle Paul wrote to the church in Corinth. Paul himself pointed out that what they were doing was shameful (1 Corinthians 6.5).

     Some have mistakenly concluded, however, that it is always wrong for a Christian to go to court against another who is a member of the Lord’s church. The things of which Paul spoke were the "smallest matters" (1 Cor. 6.2). These were the kinds of "wrongs" that a Christian ought to be able to get over without retaliation – "suffer yourselves to be defrauded" (1 Cor. 6.7). Furthermore, they were actually misusing the courts of the land based on some legal technicality to defraud their brethren (1 Cor. 6.8).

     Jesus taught that his followers should learn to take some wrongs without "fighting back" in the Sermon on the Mount, "turn the other cheek" passage (Matthew 5.38-42), but notice again that Jesus speaks of basically small injuries. He did not say that if a man stabs you in the back turn around and let him stab you again. Nor is Paul forbidding Christians from using the courts which are "ordained of God" (Romans 13.1) in more serious matters, even when another "Christian" is involved.

     In fact, wouldn’t a Christian be obligated in matters of child abuse, molestation, rape, murder and the like, to involve the legal system? So be careful before you judge someone to be in violation of Scripture for going to court with a brother or sister in Christ.


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