Lawsuits, Disputes and Misquoted Scripture

1 Corinthians

Paul speaks against lawsuits among believers:
1 Corinthians 6:1-9:
“When one of you has a grievance against another, does he dare go to law before the unrighteous instead of the saints? Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world is to be judged by you, are you incompetent to try trivial cases? Do you not know that we are to judge angels? How much more, then, matters pertaining to this life! So if you have such cases, why do you lay them before those who have no standing in the church? I say this to your shame. Can it be that there is no one among you wise enough to settle a dispute between the brothers, but brother goes to law against brother, and that before unbelievers? To have lawsuits at all with one another is already a defeat for you. Why not rather suffer wrong? Why not rather be defrauded? But you yourselves wrong and defraud–even your own brothers! Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God?”

In Garland’s commentary on 1 Corinthians he says, “The aim of the ancient lawsuit was to prevail over another, and that usually involved an assault on the opponent’s character. Paul rejects this philosophy altogether; to try to down a fellow Christian before, and with the aid of, those who do not worship God is completely inimical to Christian love.”

Jesus tells us to love our enemies and not retaliate when an offense is committed. Should not this apply to fellow brothers and sisters also?
Matthew 5:38-48
“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you. “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

How are we to deal with this? Matthew 18:19-20 is an often (mis)quoted passage when referring to prayer. But looking at the context it can be seen that it’s part of a passage in how to deal with disputes.
Matthew 18:15-20
“If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”

I’m not wise enough to say exactly how to go about this in the present day, when it might be absolutely necessary to go to court etc. I just thought it might be good to mention these things and tie a few passages together even if for only my own benefit.

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