By chormail

Matthew 5:21–26 ‘Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is taking you to court. Do it while you are still together on the way…’ (v25)

Jesus is still on the theme of the heart, but this illustration is not about a ‘brother’ who has something against you, but about a situation where someone is so upset that they are willing to take you to court – the kind of thing that might end up in a civil court today.

How many high-profile cases in the media could have been resolved with a simple apology or reparation, and would have saved a lot of energy and legal costs?

Jesus is urging that we deal with stuff privately as well as we can, and have a disposition that is bent towards wanting the offended party to be at peace rather than involve the courts.

This is no blanket prohibition on taking legal action You will recall that the apostle Paul was happy to assert his legal rights as a Roman on occasions (Acts 16:35–40).

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But it is saying that in many matters we are wise to take a hard look at whether we can repair things ourselves and be generous-hearted to those who have course to take legal action.

It may require courage: who enjoys talking to those who are annoyed with us? But often they just need to have their say, and listening and an apology is enough to help them calm down.

And you might end up as friends, and a tad richer than you would have been. We are grateful for all who work in the legal profession, but maybe it’s time to free up their time for other cases, and not involve them!


A Prayer To Make:
Lord, help me to be wise towards any who have a need to take me to court, and find another way. Amen.

An Action To Take:
Tell yourself that where possible you will speak to the next person who is annoyed by something you have said or done.

Scripture To Consider:
Gen. 4:1–16; Prov. 16:1–7; Acts 16:35–40; Rom. 13:1–7

Micha Jazz is Director of Resources at Waverley Abbey, UK.