“If anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, let him have your coat also.” Matthew 5:40
Our society is so obsessed with lawsuits that coffee cups now warn us that coffee may be hot. Every time I get a new doctor’s prescription, the plethora of warnings make me feel as though I’m taking my life in my hands. Yet, we all know the warnings are to protect the pharmaceutical company in such a litigious society. From big issues to small annoyances, it’s clear that lawsuits are a part of normal culture. As a nation, we simply want to protect and defend our rights – so what’s the problem?
Jesus says in His Sermon on the Mount in Matthew chapter 5, that for the Christian this culture of fighting legal battles against one another isn’t the best way. Instead of focusing so much on defending our personal rights, we should be striving to follow God’s ways. In other words, we’re to focus on living radical lives for God. That’s what Jesus means when saying, “If someone sues you, whatever they want, give them more” (My paraphrase).
Does this mean that according to Scripture, a Christian should never be involved in a lawsuit? Actually, the Bible says that Christians are not to sue other Christians, but should rather seek a mediator within the church.
There may be times when you must represent your business or corporation in a lawsuit, but remember that Jesus isn’t talking to corporate bodies in this verse. He’s speaking to the individual Christian. And as a Christian, we should do everything in our power to avoid a lawsuit between believers, so that we don’t damage our witness. Why? Because Jesus is not glorified in that situation.
So, rather than rushing to your lawyer after every disagreement, try to work it out. Let your lawyer be your last call rather than your first. In the end, it’s all about generosity and trusting that God will fight for you.