There are more than 40 million lawsuits filed each year in the U.S.! In fact, when I first started my business career, a man I trusted, who was an unbeliever, stole money from our business. And guess what… I sued him.
Americans spend more on litigation than any other country, and almost twice what they spend on new cars.
Being sued can be scary, frustrating and expensive. Anyone can sue you for practically anything. And like it or not, guilty or innocent, it will cost you time and money.
How do you respond to or decide to open a lawsuit? Let’s examine what the Bible says about three areas of litigation:
- When you are sued.
Try to settle it promptly. Matthew 5:25-26 says, “Make friends quickly with your opponent at law in order that your opponent may not deliver you to the judge, and you be thrown into prison. Truly I say to you, you shall not come out of there, until you have paid up the last cent.”
- Suing other followers of Christ.
In 1 Corinthians 6, we’re strongly encouraged not to sue other followers of Christ. It says, “If any of you has a dispute with another, do you dare take it before the ungodly for judgment instead of before the Lord’s people? 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?”
- Suing those who do not know Christ.
We can sue unbelievers, but Jesus encourages us to be open-handed. In Luke 6:29-30, Jesus said, “Whoever takes away your coat, do not withhold your shirt from him either. Give to everyone who asks of you, and whoever takes away what is yours, do not demand it back.”
After I sued that man who stole from our business, I read the Luke 6:29-30 passage. And I felt the Lord clearly saying to me, “The money he stole is Mine, not yours. Drop the lawsuit against him. Just let it go.”
It was so healthy for me, because I no longer carried any animosity or disappointment toward him. The Lord replaced my anger for him with compassion.
And I did drop the lawsuit.
It was the best thing I could have done!
Howard Dayton is the founder of Compass—finances God’s way and author of five books and six small group studies. He graduated from Cornell University and served two and a half years as a naval officer. But after a business partner challenged him to study the Bible to discover what God teaches about handling money, Howard’s life was profoundly changed. Since beginning in ministry, he has served as a full-time volunteer and has led more than 75 small groups. Howard married Beverly in 1971, and had two children and four grandchildren before she went Home to be with the Lord. In 2019, Howard remarried. He and his wife, Lynn, reside in Central Florida and Charleston, South Carolina.