Are Lawsuits Biblical?
In our country today, lawsuits have become commonplace. Lawsuits with merit, frivolous ones and just plain weird ones. We live in a litigious society. And they're not funny if they happen to you! On this edition of MoneyWise Live - Law Suits and how they relate to the Bible.
Last year a Chicago coffee lover sued Starbucks over too much ice in her iced coffee. It was eventually thrown out of court but not until after it had cost everyone a lot of money. A few years ago, a burglar fell through a sky light at a public school he was burglarizing. He sued the school and won! From Austin Texas, a man sued a woman who joined him on a first date because she was using her smart phone during the movie they went to. The suit was settle out of court.
There are many grounds one can sue another on - emotion distress, faulty products, personal injuries, blatant fraud - many legitimate but some use law suits as a vehicle for personal financial profit.
Does a Christian has a right to sue another individual? The Bible says that we shouldn't sue another believer in Christ. 1 Corinthians 6:1-7 (NIV) "If any of you has a dispute with another, do you dare to take it before the ungodly for judgment instead of before the Lord’s people? Or do you not know that the Lord’s people will judge the world? And if you are to judge the world, are you not competent to judge trivial cases? Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more the things of this life! Therefore, if you have disputes about such matters, do you ask for a ruling from those whose way of life is scorned in the church? 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 takes another to court—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?"
Law suits are adversarial. The Lord wants reconciliation. When can you sue? Clearly, there are times when you may need to sue and you should defend yourself. The Apostle Paul was attacked by his accusers many times and he did not attack them back or seek compensation but he did defend himself. Jesus was interested in putting the relationship first. Look for an opportunity to preserve the relationship and preserve your witness to Christ. Luke 6:29-31 (NIV) "If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you."
If you're struggling with whether you should sue, seek Godly council and ask the Lord for wisdom. James 1:5 (NIV) "If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you..."
What if you're truly wronged - be quick to forgive.
Next, Rob and Steve tackle listener questions at 800-525-7000 and via email to Questions@MoneyWiseLive.org on these topics:
- If your son is currently living with you in your house because his pay will not support renting his own place in the area, how should you resolve the issue?
- If you're in debt for about $3000 and that's impacting your cash flow, should you consider consolidating your home mortgage to pay off the debt?
- At age 27 and own a small business, how do you go about setting up a retirement program?
If you're getting married in a few months, how do you determine the level of luxury you should live at?
- If you own your home but have $20000 credit debt, should you sell the home to or pursue debt settlement to pay the credit card, debt settlement?
- What should you do if your church is investing $450,000 in a building renovation that's worth only $200,0000?
- If your spouse just passed away and you're left with about $10,000, what should you do with the money?
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