Christian Business Being Sued
By Crown Financial Ministries
First Corinthians 6 admonishes us not to take other Christians to court. “Does any of you, when he has a case against his neighbor, dare to go to law before the unrighteous and not before the saints?” (1 Corinthians 6:1).
“Actually, then, it is already a defeat for you, that you have lawsuits with one another. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be defrauded?” (1 Corinthians 6:7). However, in this litigious age Christians may very well find themselves being sued, regardless of their personal convictions against suing other Christians.
Lawsuits are a common occurrence today and have become a first, rather than a last, recourse. Grounds for lawsuits range from emotional distress to faulty products, to personal injuries, to blatant fraud—all for the purpose of personal profit.
What about the right to a justifiable legal remedy? How should believers who own businesses respond when defrauded by another individual or business? What if a Christian business is sued? Is countersuit justified? Are Christians required never to defend themselves in court? Is defending yourself in court the same as taking another person to court?
The first question that Christians who are being sued must ask is, Am I guilty?
If guilty, the Christians being sued need to confess their guilt and offer to make restitution to the injured parties. “Make friends quickly with your opponent at law while you are with him on the way, so that your opponent may not hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the officer, and you be thrown into prison” (Matthew 5:25).
If Christians are genuinely wrong, it would be wrong to go to court and try to defend actions that were wrong from the start of the litigation. As William Cowper, the 18th century English poet said in Table Talk, “Wrongs that numbers two, does not make a right that numbers one.” In other words, two wrongs don’t make a right.
However, if Christians are truly innocent and are being unjustly sued, they do have a biblical precedent to defend themselves in a court of law.
In the book of Acts (16:37, 22:25, 25:11) we find the apostle Paul’s defense against unjust claims. Paul did not attack his accusers; nor did he attempt to extract any compensation from them.
Therefore, according to God’s Word, Christians do not have the right to countersue.
However, Paul did vigorously defend himself against their claims, several times even reciting Roman law applicable to his case.
So, as long as Christians’ motives are right and they are not seeking retribution, they can, and often should, defend the rightness of their actions and bring the truth to light.
Very often Christians won’t get the justice that they may feel they deserve in the secular world’s courts, but other times God may choose to work on behalf of His people in spite of the world’s system.
According to Scripture, Paul clearly had the right to use the prevailing Roman law to defend himself against unjust charges and claims. God must have concurred, since this was all a part of His greater plan to plant Paul in Caesar’s household.
Nevertheless, even though Christians are allowed to defend themselves, their primary purpose is to serve God. That means that countersueing is most likely not within the will of God.
So, Christians are admonished to turn only to God at times like these and leave the results to Him. Any remuneration would be according to His discretion.
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