Table of Contents
Christians that Sue
The apostle Paul spoke on the topic of believers suing each other in legal courts in his letter to the Corinthian church when he wrote, “Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unjust, and not before the saints? Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters? Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life? If then ye have judgments of things pertaining to this life, set them to judge who are least esteemed in the church” (1 Corinthians 6:1-4).
It was wrong for the believers to quarrel amongst themselves to the point that they could not be reconciled to one another, but it was much worse to sue and go to courts conducted by “unbelievers.” This was a clear demonstration of the believers lack of knowledge of their high calling as children of God (Hebrews 3:1; 1 John 3:1, 2). By thus, suing each other, they allowed the old unconverted heart to demand compensation for injury to self, instead of exalting Christ, forgetting their differences, and covering everything with love (Proverbs 10:12; 17:9; 1 Corinthians 13:4; 1 Peter 4:8).
If believers would at the end of time judge evil angels, couldn’t they judge each other on this earth. This reasoning is enough to prove that the believers should be capable of making fair decisions in church regarding their disputes. The unconverted do not have faith in God, neither knowledge of the truth. They are not fit to settle disputes among Christians. For this reason, it is inexcusable for the believers to display their arguments before the unbelievers and seek their judgement The church is surely able to find someone who could make wise and just decisions concerning differences between brethren (1 Corinthians 6:5).
When Should Christians Seek Civil Courts for Judgement?
If a member brings a matter to the church and the church gives its judgment, he should be willing to abide by that judgment, even though he may not agree with it. But if a member has brought a matter to the church, and the church refused to exercise its judicial duty towards him, then he is free from following Paul’s instruction. What he does beyond that point is left for his conscience. And the Christian church should not condemn him for suing and seeking legal justice from a secular court.
Although the Bible doesn’t forbid believers to go to worldly courts and sue when church leadership fails to settle their disputes, the members are encouraged to view their inconveniences as a lesser evil than the injury that the church would suffer by lawsuits between believers before civil courts.
Church members should keep their personal feelings under the control of God’s Spirit and give priority to the welfare of the church instead. The Bible suggests that it would be much better for a church member to bear injury from another member than to seek revenge by going to law about the matter. The Savior was wronged more than any man, but the Bible says, “he opened not his mouth” (Isaiah 53:7; Matthew 27:12).
In His service,