The Apostle Paul gave strong counsel on this subject to the Christians in Corinth. In I Corinthians 6, Paul expresses his disappointment with the believers there. Sadly, some felt it necessary to have their problems and disputes settled in public courts of law rather than amongst themselves.
In verse 2, Paul reminds his brethren that they would someday judge the angels. If called to such a responsibility, surely they should have been able to handle the problems they encountered in their daily interactions with each other! Likewise in our day, with the guidance of the word of God, every spirit filled Christian should possess the ability to either help fellow Christians who are struggling with disagreements, or to respond appropriately to their own experiences.
Matthew 18:15-22 outlines the steps believers should follow when dealing with personal offenses. If, after following Jesus’ counsel, no resolution to an issue is obtained, rather than take our brother to court, it would be better to endure any loss than to fight for our “rights”. We may rest content, knowing that one day God will right all wrongs. The strength of Paul’s continuing argument rests in the teachings of Jesus – that we are to love our enemies, do good to those who despitefully use us, forgive those who sin against us, and to strive to overcome evil with good. According to Jesus, the most powerful witness of the church to the world is brotherly love. “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:35) Nothing will undermine that witness quite like lawsuits among Christians.
As to circumstances that might seem to justify one Christian suing another, we simply offer two possible scenarios that we came across in our reading. One example might be in the case of a car accident, where additional insurance benefits would be necessary to financially support an injured party, or dependents of those injured. This would not be a malicious act, but an attempt to secure rightful benefits that may have been improperly denied.
Another example might be if a Christian landlord is dealing with a tenant who refuses to pay rent, and refuses to vacate the property. If no out of court arrangements can be agreed upon, the landlord may have no other alternative than to seek legal help.
There are many “gray areas” when considering this subject. However, one thing is certain: any course of action must be preceded by prayer, guidance from mature Christians, and a heart that is void of greed and malice. “We do not wish to bring discredit on the ministry God has given us. Indeed we want to prove ourselves genuine