Friday, 7/7/2017

Good Morning, Friend,

How many times have you been taken to the cleaners by someone, both Christian and non-Christian and absorb a financial loss in the experience? My first experience was with a relative who needed help while we were in our first ministry. His car had a major problem and so I paid for the parts to repair his vehicle with a promise of being paid in the near future. That was about 40+ years ago and I am still waiting for my $95 which today would be worth about $1,000. The second event was a need for immediate funds of only $50, but with the need to have it now, it cost another $25 to send it to him. Yes, it was another relative who we were left holding the bag even to this very day. I remember a man by the name of Tony in Streamwood who we tried to help. I loaned him my car for a week and he used it for a month. I had to take my extra set of keys to take my car from his place of residence. He called me up and said, “Why did you take my car?” Plus I loaned him a good number of dollars. His payment were some used appliances to get some of the funds back. We did recoup a few dollars but the biggest return was a bunch of cockroaches. Yes, we just ate the small losses and continued to give, share, and borrow over the years. We are a lot more cautious and careful with whom we take promises from people. We just give away money with the intent that we would not get it back anyway. When I was a young man, I was naïve and I learned the lesson that the things of this life…money and material things are really not all that important. Even giving away things when one does not have much is a rich blessing. Life is not about the physical and material, it is wrapped up in my relationship with my God and my Savior! We can give away time, money, energy, wisdom and advice, as well as material things to others and enjoy the peace, joy, and blessing of being used as God’s vessel with those who are saved and unsaved in this world (Gal. 6:9-10). Be a giver and not a taker!!!

1 Corinthians 6:7-87 To have lawsuits at all with one another is already a defeat for you. Why not rather suffer wrong? Why not rather be defrauded? 8 But you yourselves wrong and defraud—even your own brothers!

Subject:  Defeated From the Start

Paul is continuing to speak about lawsuits or disputes with one Christian against another Christian. If it happens that these cases are brought to our local or even higher courts of law, we have already been defeated (loss, lack, failure). Yes, this is a complete defeat for the Body of Christ and the testimony for believers in Jesus Christ.

Why would you not rather (instead) suffer wrong? Why not rather be defrauded (deceived, cheated) or be deprived by deception or trickery? It is not easy to “give up” as Christians because most of us have been taught to stand up for our rights! We are Americans that have learned not to take it on the chin and walk away. We tend to want to fight back. We need to be strong and not allow anyone to push us around. If you let others run over you, it will happen again and again in your life and you will lose all that you have. You will be seen as a coward or a weakling.

Paul is simply saying it is better to suffer loss in a situation than to take it to the local authorities and allow civil authorities take charge and render a verdict in a situation between two believers. When that happens, you can wave the white flag of defeat. You have already lost even if you win your case against your Christian brother or sister.

That is why it is better to suffer wrong or be defrauded by a believer. Paul clearly states that the Corinthians are wrong (acting unjustly, doing what is wrong) and defraud (con, trick) your brother in Christ. This is not the biblical way to handle such situations.

So, the next time you are tempted to take another believer into a court of law, do not hire an attorney, do not file a petition to sue that person, and do not pay out money to correct a situation that went sour. Go to the pastor of your church or an elder of your church to get some godly advice. It is possible that the Church Board will handle the situation and pass down a judgment on the matter between the two parties. If they are not willing to help you, then just be willing to surrender your cause to the Lord. That is what you call humility. Just remember Jesus went to the cross and paid the awesome price for your sins and mine and he was wronged and deprived of His life for yours and mine. That is what you call ultimate humility.

Humbled by Christ,

Pastor Les

Scripture is from the ESV® Bible  (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.  Used by permission.  All rights reserved.