The Question of Suing in Christianity
Pastor Steven Birnie
Suing and going to law – (1Co 6:1-5) “…Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unjust, and not before the saints? Do you not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are you unworthy to judge the smallest matters? Know you not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life? If then you have judgments of things pertaining to this life, set them to judge who are least esteemed in the church. I speak to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you? no, not one that shall be able to judge between his brethren?…”
(Dare – Greek – tol-mah’-o) – Boldness; through the idea of extreme conduct; to venture by implication to be courageous: – be bold, boldly, dare, durst.
Long standing Christians have no doubt seen some strange actions and conduct over the years from those who profess to be saved ranging from disorderly conduct in the House of God to blatant defiance toward called qualified overseers not to mention, some spiritual madness you see along the way. However, there’s a very short list indeed of actions which leave even the most seasoned Christian completely speechless and one of those acts is one who professes to be saved going to law with another Christian or worse still, a Christian Organisation going to law with another. It’s almost unthinkable that this suing even occurs in this day and age yet despite the clear Verses above, some find reasoning in their own minds to make it all okay, with a fine list of excuses. Individuals who practice this act within the realm of Christianity neither understand their Word neither know the Saviour for who He truly is.
One aspect of Scripture Interpretation which escapes many is the ‘rookie mistake’ thought of Christ’s Words and His Ministry ending on the Cross and appearing again in the Book of Revelations yet nothing could be further from the truth. Scripture was penned by men but breathed by Jesus Christ Himself and if any would discern the Scriptures correctly, they’d know that Christ continued His Teachings through His Apostles to give us a full picture of who He is and, His mind on the matters of His Church. Forget that Paul penned these Verses above just for a moment and look through with the new spectacles (glasses) of Jesus Christ displaying His will, His Word and His emotions. DARE any of you! Think on it, were the Scriptures breathed by Christ in a boring monotone manner or were they breathed with emotion and passion to display His feelings?
DARE ANY OF YOU! How dare any of you adopt this extreme belief that it’s okay to sue your brothers and sisters. How dare any of you trample over my Gospel and drag it through the gutters! Is there not even a wise man among you who can judge these situations? Yet you take spiritual matters before the earthly courts and make a mockery of the Throne of God! If you think Jesus is fluffy and doesn’t talk like this, read the Book of Revelations. Going to law and suing within the Body of Christ has to be one of the top, most ridiculous and opposite actions of what it means to be a Christian and if an individual or organization somehow believes this to be okay, then it will be a very fearful day of judgement for them indeed. Everything done, both good and bad, will be laid before Christ, nothing will be off the table and nothing will be hidden.
The Body of Christ is changing, just like it always has as our Lord and Saviour takes His Church through the ages and those ages and seasons change. The Scriptures show us that there’s a time for everything under the sun; be assured that these recent years have been time of great change as Jesus re-positions His Body for great things and just like any shift, the dirt and mold which has attempted to infiltrate the truth will be shown for what it truly is. So, Jesus will as always give time for true repentance though His great mercy and love but only for a time so, if you’re reading this and have gained or lost through an ungodly, worldly legal dispute with another Christian then it would be wise to personally take this to God. These Verses in Corinthians are strong, a heavy sharp swipe of Christ’s Sword of Truth with an un-blinking seriousness at the consequences of carrying out such a damaging act.
As a footnote to balance this teaching – You may ask the question ‘does this mean we don’t or can’t sue and claim compensations in this world?’ Take the context of the Chapter; it’s Christian or Christian Organisations going to law with one another which is the warning of Jesus, it doesn’t mean that we don’t claim insurance in a car accident or work related incident in the world, these incidents are part of life. It’s matters between Christian and Christian where we’re warned not to dare take the situations before earthly courts but to come to the Eldership of the Assembly we’re attached and allow them to judge the situation for what it is. Earthly and Spiritual do not mix however, if the situation is something which is against the law of the land; God forbid abuse, rape or assault as examples; then it would be the judgement of any wise Eldership, to then take it before the proper authorities.
I do hope this has been an enjoyable article to read however the encouragement would always be, to be very wary indeed of any individual or organisation professing to be Christian, engaging in the act of suing or going to law with one another. It’s a direct violation of God’s Word and, the opposite of His Nature however God will judge, in this life or the next, according to His Word so any should take warning, not from my meager attempts to explain these Verses, but at the stern words written in the black and white of Christ – Dare any of you!