Summary: All Christians should be willing to be wronged rather than engage in public litigation to protect their rights when in conflict with other Christians.
The hearer will be instructed on how to respond when in conflict with other believers.
The hearer will be motivated to choose the way of meekness in order to bring glory to the name of Christ.
My friend Jeff Hartwell is a chiropractor in Oregon. He and his wife are also wonderful Christians who follow Jesus closely. They felt the call of God to sell their clinic and their home and go to Costa Rica to learn Spanish and prepare for a life of mission work among Spanish speaking people along the Mexican border in Arizona. They felt certain this was God’s plan when a Christian man in Vancouver WA called and expressed interest in helping his brother purchase Jeff’s chiropractic business. They worked out a plan, and the man’s brother sold his clinic in CA and moved to Oregon. All that remained was the finalization of some of the details on the contract.
Jeff and Allison had raised support for the missionary school where they were going and had made all sorts of plans for their year in Costa Rica. Then, with 2 days before the final sale papers would be signed, everything started going wrong.
The two brothers began making comments about how they were going to change everything after they took over the clinic, even mentioning how they were going to fire the staff and hire their own people.
This made Jeff and Allison very uncomfortable, for their reputation with the staff and with their patients appeared to be at stake. And so they did what was very difficult: they took their offer to sell the clinic off of the table.
As you can imagine, this did not make the 2 brothers very happy! In fact, they threatened to sue Jeff if he did not agree to pay them $6000 to reimburse them for their moving expenses.
It’s quiz time. What would you do? More importantly, what should you do if you’re in such a situation?
Obviously such dramatic situations are rare enough that most of us probably won’t face something like that. But the longer you are involved with Christian people, the more likely it is that you will have some sort of disagreement.
• It might be over a used car you sell to a fellow believer that ends up being a lemon.
• It might be over the work a Christian contractor did on your home.
• Perhaps it will be over a business contract you made to go into partnership with a Christian friend.
• If you are involved in ministry either as a leader of others or with others leading you – it is likely that at some point there may be a misunderstanding between you and one you lead or one who leads you. How will you handle such a situation?
While in Ephesus, Paul received a report about the Corinthian church that he founded 2 years earlier. And among the problems he heard they were having, he heard that they were having disputes with each other that they were taking to the court system to settle. In the 6th chapter of 1 Corinthians, Paul instructs the Corinthians (as well as us) how they should handle the situation when a believer comes into a conflict with another believer that involves personal property.
As we continue our study on “Real Life Christianity” lets take a look at how we are to apply this passage of scripture to our real life experiences.
1Cor. 6:1-8 (NIV)
If any of you has a dispute with another, dare he take it before the ungodly for judgment instead of before the saints? 2 Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if you are to judge the world, are you not competent to judge trivial cases? 3 Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more the things of this life! 4 Therefore, if you have disputes about such matters, appoint as judges even men of little account in the church! 5 I say this to shame you. Is it possible that there is nobody among you wise enough to judge a dispute between believers? 6 But instead, one brother goes to law against another — and this in front of unbelievers!
7 The very fact that you have lawsuits among you means you have been completely defeated already. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be cheated? 8 Instead, you yourselves cheat and do wrong, and you do this to your brothers.
1. Believers should consult church leaders to help resolve conflicts with each other. (v. 1-6)
In the church in Corinth there was obviously a problem with spiritually immature people taking other believers to court in order to settle disputes.
This demonstrates two things about them: