Saturday, May 19, 2012

My Brother Is Suing Me?

There is this misconception that as a Christian we are not supposed to take one another to court. Misconception may not be the correct word to use here because the bible does state the procedure if there is a dispute among the believers (1 Corinthians 6:1-7 AMP). The process can be just as long as going through getting a complaint on the docket and having the other party served; nevertheless, it is different then what the world does and is pleasing in the sight of God to do good.

In using the word, misconception was after reading a textbook about divorce and marriage in the church. It was  difficult getting through the first five chapters thinking about how many divorces there are thus far in the church. With so many people not knowing what the correct thing to do in Christ, the alternative being what everyone on the bandwagon does and is socially acceptable.
Oh well, it just didn't work out but there is always divorce! 

It was tedious reading and a little disturbing to realize with the statistics being what they are, why hasn't this topic been discussed to exhaustion. Why are there so many sermons about getting more from God when what has been given has not been taken care of (Luke 12:48 KJV)? That isn't just the congregation but the spiritual leaders and  ministers  as well. They can't ask more from the congregation when they haven't done what God has told them to do. With God being a good Father, He would not have His children be without the information we need in order to have a full, complete and successful life. It seems there is enough punishment to go around for everyone.

Believers try their best to be pleasing to God. In so doing we tend to think this also means we must allow others to take advantage of us. This became a hot spot for me as I got up this morning and thought about my co-worker who happened to give me my check after opening it. She said, "sorry, I accidentally opened your check. It was a mistake." I was seething but took the check from her and said nothing about the matter. You see, everyone gets their check or a notice of their direct deposit in their mailbox located in the clerical office. She and I, because of having the same title, share a mailbox. If you know this, there is not mistake. I was here before her and never did I pick up my co-worker's check by mistake. You just don't do it, not even subconsciously because you are aware of someone else's personal property is there. Even with your own mail, one just doesn't open anything and everything. You scrutinize between the junk and the bills. A year or so later, the administrator did the same thing. Why wouldn't she notice the difference between her check and mine and why didn't she make that mistake with anyone else's check? She wrote on the envelope, "oops, sorry, I opened it by mistake" and then signed her name. She didn't even try to tape it back together. I still said nothing but could have taken a bite out of the back of the office chair I was so angry. The point of the matter is, I didn't do anything about it because the check wasn't a size that was worthy in making a big deal about. I also took it before God so I could still work with these people without gritting my teeth.

Would there be a difference if the check was constant and bigger?

There would be a slight difference. Would there be a difference if the perpetrators professed Christianity? And this is what the entire post is about. People tend to stray away when both parties are Christian because the whole foundation of love and being pleasing in the sight of God is paramount. Getting revenge belongs to the Lord and we are not to care about our material possessions; therefore, we have to go through so many different avenues to settle our discontent with being taken advantage of or just letting the matter go. It is what a family member told me to do when I was a freshman in college and working for a business in its fledgling stages of production. Granted, the owner used a number of his family members and also a few of us in the neighborhood which should have been my first clue but I was 18 at the time. My sister and I were elated to get a job so close to home but all of the adulation went South when weeks turned into months without pay. The owner at the end of every week had a speech about where the company was going and his goals in taking the entire staff on vacations. He puffed up the time we had with so many pipe dreams, the major complaint of payment was overlooked. I suppose he was surprised when he had to explain to the Better Business Bureau of his work practices and to the IRS for not filing the correct papers with having that many people as employees. Or maybe it was a shock to find that I got that process rolling and he received a summons to court.  I just couldn't let it go. It was so wrong of him to do with no remorse and no sign of rectifying the matter. I didn't know whether he was paying his family members with all of our hard work; I just knew my sister, my neighbor, and I had never received a check. My family member still maintained for me not to do anything and let God handle it even when I won my case. I didn't regret one moment of that process especially when he took all of his assets and put them in his only child's name. After I won my case, I did let the matter go. It was necessary for him to know that all of his hot air didn't detour me from doing what I knew was right and now he knew that I wasn't alone in thinking that way.

What about the Christian aspect of the matter? 

If Christians have a dispute, we know the Word would clear it up. If one party was not in agreement of the Word, then there would have to be another party who was knowledgeable in Christian principles (book knowledge as well as living it) to over see the topic and weigh in based upon the Word. If there was still a dispute, then the spiritual leaders are to handle the matter. The purpose for this procedure is to keep peace amongst the people for progression to continue in Christ. If the disputing party is still trying to cause discontentment, then he/she must leave the congregation (be excommunicated). He/she would be considered a sinner. This would mean that calling him/herself a Christian was only lip service. One must also walk in the spirit so not to fulfill the lust of the flesh (Galatians 5:16 AMP). Even if that practice wasn't something that had been studied for that individual as of yet, there is the practice of loving thy neighbor as thyself. If the so called Christian hadn't got to that lesson yet, there are always those 10 Commandments. Now with all three of those principles, we can see the levels of maturity in Christ. If none of these levels have ever been in practice especially as long as some of the people have been in church, then there is something wrong. The word tells us to know to do right and not to do it is a sin (James 4:17 AMP). If a person practices not doing right when he/she knows what right is - no matter how many times they call themselves a Christian, their acts say otherwise. He/she is a sinner and therefore is beholden to the same laws that the world goes by.

This is also true when there are those that go through a divorce. If both parties don't know what they have done, they should seek counseling in the church before attempting to file papers. It is no different in the case above. It is still paramount to do things that are pleasing to God. God hates divorce. God has called us all to peace (1 Corinthians 7:15 AMP). Is it a conundrum

I know of a case where the husband refused to get a job to support his wife and children. It was taken to the elders in the church over and over again. The pastor counseled the man and he still didn't do anything different. It was as if he snubbed the pastor's advice. Years passed and the tension in the household didn't subside. The wife was tired of going to the pastor and receiving no change. It had become an embarrassment for her and the family. The husband kept making references that if she was miserable, she should go and file for a divorce. He was very careful not to ask for a divorce himself just the suggestion of one. When matters didn't move as quickly as he would have liked, he made the living conditions so uncomfortable, that she contemplated the idea of leaving him.They separated. He started dating and was enjoying his single life. His family spoke to him about his behavior and suggested for him to go to the elders of the church to be reconciled with his wife. He hemmed and hawed but knew what the scriptures state about the matter. He made arrangements for him and his estranged wife to see the pastor. Nothing was resolved even after 4-5 sessions. Finally, after the pastor spoke to him privately, he was over wrought. He called his wife without gathering his thoughts and said, "If you don't want to get back together, I have to live my life. I need a wife. If  it isn't going to be you, it has to be someone. So what are you going to do?" She answered, "I don't know yet. What are you going to do?" He repeated himself. She didn't say anything. Frustrated that she didn't give him the answer he was looking for, he said, "You need to give me a divorce." She said, not knowing the Word as well as she should, "Why don't you get one yourself?" After that, the arguing started but she didn't have to keep listening to it and hung up the phone. 

You see, in this case, the man refused to care for his children. The Word tells us if a man doesn't support his children that he is worse then an infidel (1 Timothy 5:8 KJV). An infidel is a sinner. If his actions depict who he is, he has decided to be a sinner again no matter how he calls himself a Christian. Therefore, he is subject to the laws of the courts. He was taken to the elder of the church and spoken to over and over again. Because he refused to do anything better then he was doing, he disregarded the advice and actions within the church should have been taken. He knew what was right to do and decided not to do it. The Word tells us, this is a sin. His continued acts again makes him who he is - a sinner. Because the church did not take any other action for his disregard of advice, it would be a matter between the pastor and God; nevertheless, because he was not corrected, he thinks he can continue to do as he pleased in the church. Whether he knew it or not, he asked his wife for a divorce. She didn't know that was all she needed to be free and clear of him because it is written (1 Corinthians 7:15 AMP). The marriage continued, estranged as it was, for years even after the separation. His acts of infidelity continued even before a divorce was filed and granted.

It's as if there is this target on our backs for us to be the whipping post for all of those who desire to be bullies but have no one else to pick on but the Christian. Because we have some knowledge in Christ to be the peace givers and the light of the world, we try with every effort not to be argumentative and not to cause dissension anywhere. Jesus is the Prince of Peace. With Him being greater on the inside of each and every one that believes, how then can we disrupt the quiet? How can we be the cause of the storm when we are the ones to call, peace be still? Selah.

The answer is because we are the light of the world we have to stand against the wrong that is being done. If we have someone do wrong against us it is as if the person is doing wrong against the temple of God. You do remember when Jesus came upon those that tried to sell wares in the temple? He said that they had made the house of God a den of thieves (Mark 11:15-18 KJV). There is no communion with light and darkness. When light has been turned on, darkness is eradicated. With this understanding, do what is right. If there is a person who professes Christianity, then he/she will abide by what the church decides according to scripture. If not, then he/she does not believe and therefore, without admitting it, is a sinner. He/she can then be summoned to court, get a bill of divorce, and any other legal matter that is acceptable by the world's standards. It is not because you believe in such practices, it is because the respect and reverence of God is not honored and has been disregarded. Just like Jesus kicking over the tables in the temple, we have the same right to evict the wrong so it is right again. This is why there should be Christians in political office and in everything that would change policy and procedure for the greater good. We don't necessarily have to run for office, we just have to be an influencing factor for those that do. Amen?

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