Thursday, March 24, 2011

Different Rules for Me and You

So you and I (assuming we are both Christians) are supposed to follow a different set of rules than the rest of the world. I think I have covered that general thought in several previous posts. I have to bring up one specific rule that Christians should follow based on current things going on in my sphere of influence. It appears that living in our current US-based legal system has caused a lot of people to become dependent upon human judges and the legal system to settle all matters of disputes. Paul, and Jesus too actually, rather flatly show that should just not be the case with Christians. Look at Paul's words in 1 Corinthians 6:1-8. In these verses Paul actually says that a Christian who sues another Christian in a "civil" court is already a moral failure. That is the wrap up of his reprimand of this action, which he in the earlier verses shows his astonishment (negatively of course) that believers cannot find even one wise person they can trust to arbitrate disputes.

Paul also makes another point in this text that is actually what I take as the crux of it. Shouldn't we, as Christians (if we truly are), simply accept an injustice done to us and forgive the person? After all, I am pretty sure EVERYONE has cheated God, has done an injustice to God. If we are to be judged according to how we judge, then those of us who rush to court against each other might want to be a little concerned.

Jesus takes on the other side of the matter though in his Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5:25-26. He puts the burden on the person being taken before the judge to settle matters prior to issues getting that far. So, take what Paul and Jesus say and you have BOTH side of the dispute covered in the Bible. No matter which side you find yourself on, we have the Biblical answer of how to deal with it. And in BOTH cases, Christians are supposed to be above the human courts and deal with disputes within a Christian context.

Why the big points from Paul and Jesus on this? Well, I think it is simple. God forgives us for the worst of the worst, we should likewise forgive others, especially other Christians. Also, whenever Christians obligate other Christians to a legal system, we enslave Christ's church (each Christian has a part to play in the church) to worldly judgements that are often at odds with Christian views. We force Christians to be judged by non-Christian standards. None of that comes to a good conclusion, whereas a Christian/Biblical approach in love and forgiving spirit leads to the building up of the church.