1 Corinthians 6:1 When any of you has a grievance against another, do you dare to take it to court before the unrighteous, instead of taking it before the saints? 2 Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world is to be judged by you, are you incompetent to try trivial cases? 3 Do you not know that we are to judge angels—to say nothing of ordinary matters? 4 If you have ordinary cases, then, do you appoint as judges those who have no standing in the church? 5 I say this to your shame. Can it be that there is no one among you wise enough to decide between one believer and another, 6 but a believer goes to court against a believer—and before unbelievers at that? 7 In fact, to have lawsuits at all with one another is already a defeat for you. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be defrauded? 8 But you yourselves wrong and defraud—and believers at that.
The apostle Paul, writing this letter to the believers in Corinth, is beside himself. Paul is angry that there are such divisions among the believers, and obviously not of the religious kind, but likely property matters. It’s unthinkable to have non-Christians deciding issues among believers.
And the fact that such legal action is necessary at all is shameful. It should not be that believers have a difference so deep they cannot deal with it internally. There is a lack of humility and a desire to be “right” – even if it means bringing divisions in the church.
There is also the issue of social status in secular proceedings of this day. Those who had greater social standing could bribe judges and tilt a case in their favor, particularly against one of lower social standing. These kinds of social distinctions have no place in the church, and the fact that some Christians are yet participating in the secular court is completely unacceptable to Paul.
Divisions in the church, among believers, is nothing new – and continues to this day. And it shames us before an unbelieving world. The part that nails me is the need to be “right”. Know what I mean? I’ve been trained in life to strongly advocate my point of view and “win” the argument. Paul challenges this way of thinking. To Paul, and to Christ, unity is the higher value than being “right”.
Key questions for me today:
1. Where am I so busy trying to be declared “right” that I may be bringing divisions among the body of believers, or among my family members?
2. Where is my pride getting in the way of humility?
Lord Jesus, give us grace to bring peace among your people, among our family members and friends, rather than division. Clothe us with your humility. We ask this in your holy name. Amen.