S185P8 – The work of the brethren: to deal justly with one another

1 Cor. 6:1-6

If any of you has a dispute with another, do you dare to 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?  Do you not know that we will judge angels?  How much more the things of this life!  Therefore, if you have disputes about such matters, do you ask for a ruling from those whose way of life is scorned in the church?  I say this to shame you.  Is it possible that there is nobody among you wise enough to judge a dispute between believers?  But instead, one brother takes another to court—and this in front of unbelievers!

Theirs was the land dispute to end all land disputes.  In those days, the amount of acreage a man owned was as clear an indicator of his power as anything else.  Unfortunately, the ranches in that area were not mapped out by modern methods, and that could cause disagreements when hundreds of acres with no clear boundaries were at issue.  It is in this context that two boys who started out as the best of friends in a place where neighbors were miles apart would end up feuding over a few acres most people never had the occasion to ever cross or even see.  Their private brotherhood threatened to dissolve over some grassy mounds of dirt in the middle of nowhere.  Each man stood his ground on principle, the land between them apparently more valuable than the friendship it would ruin. 

Disputes arise because one or more parties believe that they are losing out or being wronged, and someone else should be responsible to make them whole.  There is some injustice to be corrected.  We are not talking about criminal acts but about civil disputes between individuals.  These kinds of disputes will happen within the Church, but that is not the issue.  The issue is how we handle them.  Our seeking justice should lead us toward Godly justice and not man’s justice.  There is a Godly wisdom by which we can trust justice will come.  If two brothers cannot find it on their own to resolve their dispute, the scriptures send them to the Church for Godly wisdom because she should have the good judgement necessary to resolve the matter.  Whether a plot of land or a pile of money, her wisdom should be sufficient.

God’s expectation is that his children will be able to resolve these matters among themselves without interference from a system operating under a much different standard of wisdom and justice.  Ultimately, it is not for us to fight over money or property as the world does.  It is not for us to quarrel and allow relationships to dissolve over that which will pass away in time.  The love we have for one other and the wisdom of the Church should surpass that, and this is a testimony for the world to see how we are indeed different and holy.  Father, give us the wisdom and love for one another necessary to resolve our disputes as You command, trusting in the wisdom and justice of your Church.