"Going to Court"
September 15, 2005Email to a FriendPrint
If any of you has a dispute with another, dare he take it before the ungodly for judgment instead of before the saints? 1 Corinthians 6:1
What does “litigiousness” mean? The word occurred in a catechism years ago to describe the tendency of some people to litigate, to sue one another when disputes arise.
Some of Saint Paul’s readers in Corinth ventilated their problems before pagan judges. The apostle much preferred that they settle their problems among themselves with the help of their spiritual leaders. In the latter settings, Christian principles, especially Christian love, can prevail to the satisfaction of both parties. “Litigiousness” over trivial cases gives Christianity a bad name in a pagan society. The apostle considers it inconsistent with the high spiritual role Christians have to “judge the world” and to “judge angels” (1 Corinthians 6:2-3).
“Litigiousness” tends to reflect greed, a contentious spirit, a preoccupation with selfish interests to the neglect of responsibility toward the neighbor. In our times, court cases are not only numerous but sometimes border on the humorous. For example, a New Hampshire college student, having had an unpleasant, unwanted encounter with her date, initiated a lawsuit, not against the young man but against his parents “for having done such a rotten job in raising their son.” While the complaint might have been justified, the procedure for personal redress was ill-advised.
As citizens, Christians are entitled to the protection of the courts when righteous issues are at stake. Saint Paul, a Roman citizen, availed himself of the imperial courts, in the end appealing his case as a witness of Jesus Christ all the way to Caesar in Rome. The book of Acts closes with this account of the apostle as a litigant in Rome: “Boldly and without hindrance he preached the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 28:31).
Before taking a case to court, a Christian will “take it to the Lord in prayer,” considering all aspects of the matter in the light of Christ’s redeeming love.
PRAYER: O Holy Spirit, guide me with love and wisdom when I consider litigation in dealing with others. Amen.
(Devotions from "With Jesus Every Day" copyright 1997, CPH. All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication may be printed, reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior written permission of Concordia Publishing House. Permission is granted for one-time emailing of this link to a friend. For information on other devotional material, please contact CPH at 800-325-3040 or visit CPH at www.cph.org.)