1 Corinthians 6:1-11 (NIV)
Lawsuits Among Believers
6 If any of you has a dispute with another, do you dare to take it before the ungodly for judgment instead of before the Lord’s people? 2 Or do you not know that the Lord’s people 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, do you ask for a ruling from those whose way of life is scorned 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 takes another to court—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 and sisters. 9 Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men 10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
What does Paul mean when he tells the Corinthians that they have been defeated already (verse 7)?
Holy Father, You know our hearts and our motives and You are just and fair. Our natural desire is to look out for ourselves. In today’s culture hostility, violence and anger are justified in the name of social justice. Society in general is hyper skeptical of others who have what we don’t have, and we want what we think is owed to us. We feel entitled and are willing to fight for it instead of working for it. We have become a generation of victims. Instead of improving society as a whole, we make lawyers rich. As Christians we are to be different. We teach about Your love. We are to be the salt and light to the world. After all, we are all members of Your holy family. The church is to be the example for the world. But so often that is not the case. We too conform to the selfishness of this world. But fighting each other in front of the ungodly is a terrible witness for the church. When believers who are supposed to be filled by the Holy Spirit, battle over minor disputes in a secular court they damage the reputation of You and Your Church in the community. It doesn’t matter who “wins,” both lose in ways that really matters. Both parties will have demonstrated how little value they place on Your commands to love and serve one another. Lord, help the church to lean on the Holy Spirit to not act on our natural instincts so that we will be able to demonstrate Your kindness and goodness in humility and love. There are times when being right it is not worth fighting for. If we cannot resolve a conflict peacefully and we forgive and let it go for the sake of Your glory, we can never be a loser. We know that things are not perfect on earth but look forward to Your everlasting kingdom where all things will be set right. Help me to trust in You, the ultimate judge, and not in secular judges and lawsuits and courts. Amen