How do you shepherd a Christian brother who is being sued by a non-Christian?

Last week, a dear Christian brother and friend came to see me a day before he was due in court.  He was being sued by a non-Christian over a property line dispute.  My friend had done all he could to try and resolve this issue outside of court.  He has handled himself all throughout this ordeal with grace, patience and self-control in the face of a less than pleasant opponent.  We sat down to chat, he filled me in on the recent update of the situation, and then I proceeded in this way:

– We read, meditated, and discussed Romans 13:1-3.  A comforting word for anyone troubled that the ruling authorities would not have a Christian’s best interest in mind.  I reminded him that God is still ruling on his throne and will sovereignly use that judge to bring about his perfect will as he submits to that governing authority.

– I challenged him to trust that our just God would bring justice.  God is perfectly just.  Therefore, he will bring justice upon the wicked and vindicate his people.  However, as the Psalmist reminds us (Psalm 73) sometimes the wicked flourish and the righteous suffer and we don’t always see immediate results.  Yet, we can trust that our just God will one day make everything right.

– I prayed for my friend to exude a Christ-like attitude.  We agreed that God will be more glorified in his humble, submissive, and Christ-like attitude, than whatever the outcome of the case.  The aim is to display the gospel to that man, the clerks, and that judge more than winning or losing.

– We pleaded to God for the salvation of this unbelieving man.  The best perspective to walk into a court room with when a non-Christian is suing you is an eternal one.  That eternal perspective remains intact if you feel a greater burden for that man’s soul than his possible victory over you.

Though this is a very unique situation, I am confident these principles can be applied to many situations where an unbeliever is coming against you and you are unsure how to conduct yourself.  May the Lord give you grace and clarity in the similar situations you face.

Posted in Discipleship, Evangelism
5 comments on “How do you shepherd a Christian brother who is being sued by a non-Christian?
  1. Rob says:

    I have no way of knowing the amount of land being disputed, (inches or acres) so I am not making any assumptions. But, where DO you draw the line between Mat. 5:40 and protecting your family?

    • Brian Croft says:

      Not sure. Something that requires wisdom on a case by case bases. There is a line, however, that needs to be found and you have captured the sides in your question.

  2. Rob says:

    Giving thanks I haven’t. Unfortunately, I think most of us lean further away from Mat 5:40 than live it out. We love our stuff.

  3. Rob says:

    I think part of finding the line is being able to discern the difference between real need and covetousness/bullying/greed.

  4. “If anyone would sue you and take…[then] let him have…”
    “If anyone [a Roman soldier] forces you to go one mile,
    [Then] go with him two miles.” I understand our Lord to be saying if you lose in court even unjustly give more than you have to at that point. Seek justice but be generous even when you don’t get it.

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