January 16 – Matthew 5:25-26
- “Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is taking you to court. Do it while you are still together on the way, or your adversary may hand you over to the judge, and the judge may hand you over to the officer, and you may be thrown into prison. 26. Truly I tell you, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny.
While the mantra is that courts provide justice, most of us know someone who would say just the opposite. In fact, since most people equate winning their case with justice, about half the people involved in court cases would say that they didn’t receive justice and therefore don’t trust the courts. If we feel that way today, imagine what must have been happening back in Jesus’s day.
In truth, though, I don’t believe Jesus is talking about a corrupt court system so much as who we are and how we develop relationships with our friends and even our adversaries. Our problem with the courts is that when someone takes us to court, we think we’re right and we want the court to prove us right rather than settle things out of court. Paul, talking about Christians going to court with other Christians noted that it was better to be wronged than to trust a judge who doesn’t share your values to make the right decision.
So, what kind of a person are you? Are you someone who needs to be right all the time no matter what it does to people around you, or are you willing to suffer a little indignity for the sake of developing relationships with other people. One of the things that’s hardest for me to remember is that I don’t always have to be right. The way to cure that problem is to remember that we’re always called to love others, even our adversaries. And sometimes, when you’re willing to make peace rather than enforce your “rightness” you’ll find that you make a long-time friend and ally instead of an enemy.
Lord, it is all about You and not about me being right. Remind me of that when I get into disputes with others and teach me to build relationships based on Your grace instead of seeking to destroy people and win my battles.