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Monday, July 14, 2003

Edifier du Jour-1 Corinthians 6:1-8
1 Does any one of you, when he has a case against his neighbor, dare to go to law before the unrighteous and not before the saints? 2 Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? If the world is judged by you, are you not competent to constitute the smallest law courts? 3 Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more matters of this life? 4 So if you have law courts dealing with matters of this life, do you appoint them as judges who are of no account in the church? 5 I say this to your shame. Is it so, that there is not among you one wise man who will be able to decide between his brethren, 6 but brother goes to law with brother, and that before unbelievers? 7 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? 8 On the contrary, you yourselves wrong and defraud. You do this even to your brethren.
This is an interesting passage that brings back some memories. I just finished the final paperwork earlier this morning for dissolving the corporation, MacroNet Computers, that I had back in the late 90s. One of the contributing factors of the store's demise was a cybercafe-type-establishment that stiffed us for about $10,000 of computers we built for them. The proprietor of the store went to my parent's church, and I toyed with the idea of invoking this passage before being told how unrealistic it would be to go the pastors of my nemesis' church and call for some sort of binding arbitration brokered by a church member. We wound up getting about 20% of our money back in an out-of-court settlement just before we were slated to go to trial on the case; the loss didn't put us out of business, but it didn't help matters. Since most of the believers we do business with aren't in the same church, there would seem to be no good way to effect some sort of Christian Arbitration Bureau that would settle legal disputes between believers. In this litigious society, it would be hard even for two fellow church members to have a third party from church serve as arbiter for a dispute. That says a lot about our society and our churches. I don't know if you could set such a beast up. It would require a lot of churches to commit to have their members to refer cases to them if both parties were believers and have churches require, or at least strongly encourage, people use such non-judicial arbitration before going to the courts if the other party wasn't willing to go along.

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