Read 1 Corinthians 6:1-11
Disputes between God’s people? Does that sound far-fetched? It wasn’t in the first century in Corinth, and it isn’t in the twenty-first century in your city! Believers sell things to and buy things from one another. Believers enter into business contracts with other believers. Believers establish “covenants” with each other. And, sometimes, those agreements don’t go as one or both parties imagined. In countless different ways, a believer may feel as if he has been slighted or that she has experienced injustice.
So what do you do if you find yourself in a situation like that? Depending upon the perceived severity of the injustice (often measured in emotional pain and/or financial implications), one or both parties may take legal action and pursue justice through the use of unbelieving lawyers and judges. Paul’s point is that such disputes between believers should not land in the secular legal system. Actually, the word of God presents several different courses of action a believer might consider. Here are a few of them:
- Accept the fact that you were wronged…and move on (v. 7). Forgive in your heart, release any bitterness, and acknowledge that injustice is part of life. Ultimately, God will bring about justice. Let Him do so (Rom. 12:19, 20).
- Seek peaceful reconciliation on your own (Rom. 12:18). Sometimes the pain is so deep that the last thing you want to do is to talk to the other person and seek clarification. The misunderstanding may be resolved if you only talk to the person. You will never know unless you take the step.
- Invite godly people from within the church to be part of the process of sorting out the details and helping you to find resolution (vv. 1-6). It shouldn’t be necessary for believers to take fellow brothers or sisters in Christ to court.
At some point in life, you will likely experience conflict with another believer. When you do, you will need to work hard at avoiding bitterness, pursuing peace, and honoring God! Unity in the body of Christ is so important that Jesus prayed for it in some of the last hours prior to His crucifixion. He prayed that we would be one (Jn. 17:20-23). This unity is one of the strongest evangelistic tools at our disposal. When it is missing, we must take right steps to restore it!