Is It Ever Okay for a Christian to Sue a Non-Christian?
The following is an edited transcript of the audio.
In what circumstance would it be OK, if at all, for a Christian to sue a non-Christian person or a secular institution?
I don't see any situation in which it would be OK to sue a Christian, because of 1 Corinthians 6: "Why do you go to law against each other?"
And Paul gives a couple of reasons why he says that. One is, "Don't you have judges among yourselves who can work this out?" But his bottom line is, "Why wouldn't you rather be wronged than to sue a brother?"
So he's got layers, which is so interesting, because if you think the bottom layer, Paul, why would you even entertain the possibility of judges being involved? Why don't you just say to Corinth, "If someone wrongs you, return good for evil. Period. End of discussion. On to the next issue"?
But instead he says, "Aren't there judges among you who can help you?" And the reason is because he is willing to deal with imperfect people who aren't able to rise to that level, or there are times when he thinks it would be right.
We had a situation in our church where a person bought a house from another Christian in the church and discovered something about the house that they were not informed about. It got really ugly.
But let me remember how this actually went. It was so long ago. I think we were able to do it with Christian arbitration, rather than legal. That would be the preference.
I can't think of any reason why a Christian would take another Christian to court. Peacemakers ought to go to peace with each other.
What you want to do is model for the world that you're not a lover of money.
I don't want to be hesitant to make a sweeping statement about the world, where somebody has in business so cheated you that you've gone bankrupt and they're sitting pretty, and there is plenty of legal recourse to see that justice be done and some recompense be made.
It may be that there would be a non-greedy way to say to that person, "You can't get away with this. You can't get away with this."
But I'm really hesitant, because the drift of the New Testament is to not return evil for evil. So you'd have to check your motives real carefully.