讓走入法庭成為最後的方案──MAKE GOING TO COURT A LAST RESORT

MONDAY MANNA

在二十一世紀,美國擁有一個不佳的名聲:以產生比任何社會都多的訴訟而聞名。這可以從電視、廣播和廣告牌上的眾多廣告中看到,助長著律師事務所更積極尋找新客戶。有人說問題出在律師太多,所有人都熱衷於訴訟。但是,律師人數不是重點,最根本的問題是太多的人不願意妥協或努力尋求法庭之外的解決方案。相反的,他們堅持己見,只要覺得自己沒有得到應得的,他們就選擇起訴。

 耶穌基督在廣為人知的登山寶訓中一段話針對了這個問題,他用馬太福音第5-7章的幾百個字,解釋了成為祂的門徒、學生和跟隨者應有的態度。耶穌用簡潔明瞭的話語表達,當我們倚靠相信神時就可獲得力量,並過榮耀神的生活。   耶穌首先談到慷慨的好處和貪婪的危害。祂談論殺人和姦淫、饒恕和不報復的力量,以及不要擔心或憂慮。祂甚至對愛有很前進的說法:「要愛我們的仇敵」。  

至於上法庭解決糾紛的傾向,祂說:「你同告你的對頭還在路上,就趕緊與他和息,恐怕他把你送給審判官,審判官交付衙役,你就下在監裏了。」(馬太福音5章25節)。換句話說,我們應該要互相尋求爭端的解決,而不是靠政府機構規定的法律來排解。


這就解釋了為什麼耶穌在登山寶訓裡談到寬恕和謙卑,不因為發現別人的錯就尋求報復。我們常發現自己傾向用自己的解決方式,不願意聽別人的意見,也不想談判找到所有人都可以接受的解決辦法。
 
避免上法庭的另一個原因是避免判決對你不利。正如箴言25章8節中所說:「不要冒失出去與人爭競,免得至終被他羞辱,你就不知道怎樣行了。 」

大約五十年前我剛進入商界時,我設了一些重要的目標。一是要完全誠實,決不做任何不道德或違法的事情。另一個目標是設法解決所有爭端,而不必起訴任何人,也避免被起訴。截至目前為止,一切都很順利。

真正的饒恕不可否認地,可能會讓我們產生財務報表上暫時的損失,我曾經有過幾次的經驗了。但是,饒恕別人的過犯能帶來自由,擺脫那可能會困擾我們很長時間的憤怒和苦毒。

這並不是說我們不用去找出適當解決衝突的方法,耶穌提出了解決的另一種方式:「倘若你的弟兄得罪你,你就去,趁著只有他和你在一處的時候,指出他的錯來。他若聽你,你便得了你的弟兄;他若不聽,你就另外帶一兩個人同去,要憑兩三個人的口作見證,句句都可定準。」(馬太福音18章15-16節)。用這些步驟可以幫助你節省大量的時間和金錢,還能修復破裂的關係。

©2021 JimMathis是堪薩斯州歐弗蘭帕克的作家,攝影師和企業主。他的最新著作是《駱駝和針The Camel and the Needle》,《基督徒看財富和金錢A Christian Looks at Wealth and Money》。他曾任堪薩斯州堪薩斯城和密蘇里州堪薩斯城的CBMC咖啡店經理和執行理事。

反省與問題討論

  1. 你是否被別人起訴過,或者你覺得有必要把人告上法庭以解決爭端或糾正錯誤行為嗎?如果有,對你來說那是什麼樣的經驗?
  2. 你覺得為什麼這麼多人傾向採取法律行動,而不是在法庭之外試圖解決衝突?
  3. 你覺得耶穌說的饒恕甚至愛我們的敵人,適用在當我們把人告到法庭上時嗎?
  4. 我們選擇解決問題的方式(走法律程序或是尋求法庭之外的解決),跟我們的信仰和與上帝的關係有關嗎?

備註:如果你有聖經,想要讀更多相關的經文,請參考(因經文篇幅較長,請參閱未列出的經文馬太福音18;23-35):

利未記19章17-18節
19:17 「不可心裏恨你的弟兄;總要指摘你的鄰舍,免得因他擔罪。
19:18 不可報仇,也不可埋怨你本國的子民,卻要愛人如己。我是耶和華。
箴言25章9-10節
25:9 你與鄰舍爭訟,要與他一人辯論,不可洩漏人的密事,
25:10 恐怕聽見的人罵你,你的臭名就難以脫離。
馬太福音5章7-10節
5:7 憐恤人的人有福了!因為他們必蒙憐恤。
5:8 清心的人有福了!因為他們必得見 神。
5:9 使人和睦的人有福了!因為他們必稱為 神的兒子。
5:10 為義受逼迫的人有福了!因為天國是他們的。
馬太福音5章43-48節
5:43 「你們聽見有話說:『當愛你的鄰舍,恨你的仇敵。』
5:44 只是我告訴你們,要愛你們的仇敵,為那逼迫你們的禱告。
5:45 這樣就可以作你們天父的兒子;因為他叫日頭照好人,也照歹人;降雨給義人,也給不義的人。
5:46 你們若單愛那愛你們的人,有甚麼賞賜呢?就是稅吏不也是這樣行嗎?
5:47 你們若單請你弟兄的安,比人有甚麼長處呢?就是外邦人不也是這樣行嗎?
5:48 所以,你們要完全,像你們的天父完全一樣。」
馬太福音18章21-22節
18:21 那時,彼得進前來,對耶穌說:「主啊,我弟兄得罪我,我當饒恕他幾次呢?到七次可以嗎?」
18:22 耶穌說:「我對你說,不是到七次,乃是到七十個七次。
馬可福音12章30-31節
12:30 你要盡心、盡性、盡意、盡力愛主─你的 神。』
12:31 其次就是說:『要愛人如己。』再沒有比這兩條誡命更大的了。」


MAKE GOING TO COURT A LAST RESORT

By Jim Mathis

In the 21st century, America holds a dubious distinction: It has become known for generating the most lawsuits of any society ever. This is evident by the many ads on TV, radio and billboards promoting law firms aggressively seeking new clients. Some people say the problem is too many lawyers, all eager to engage in litigation. However, the number of lawyers is not the core problem. The underlying issue is too many people unwilling to work toward a compromise or out-of-court resolution. Instead, they insist on having their own way, choosing to sue if they do not get what they think they deserve.

Jesus Christ addressed this in a passage commonly called “the Sermon on the Mount.” In a few hundred words, recounted in Matthew 5-7, Jesus explained what it means to be His disciple – His student and follower. In clear, concise language Jesus tells how to live a life that honors Him and relies on the power we receive as we place our trust in Him.

Jesus first speaks of the benefits of generosity and the hazards of greed. He talks about murder and adultery; the power of forgiveness and not seeking revenge; and not being anxious or worrying. He makes radical statements about loving, rather than hating, our enemies.

About the inclination to go to court to resolve disputes, He said, “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” (Matthew 5:25). In other words, we are to seek to resolve disputes with others without having to rely on government agencies to prescribe legal remedies for us.  

This explains why Jesus including this subject in His Sermon on the Mount. It is within the context of forgiveness, humility, and not seeking revenge for perceived wrongs. We often find ourselves inclined to demand our own way, being unwilling to listen to others or negotiate a settlement that is acceptable to all.

Another reason to avoid going to court is to avoid having the judgment go against you. As it says in Proverbs 25:8, “What you have seen with your eyes do not bring hastily to court, for what will you do in the end if your neighbor puts you to shame?”  

When I entered the world of business nearly 50 years ago, I had some prominent goals. One was to be totally honest and never to do anything unethical or illegal. Another goal was trying to resolve all disputes without ever having to sue anyone and also to avoid being sued. So far, so good.

Genuine forgiveness admittedly may involve a temporary financial loss on our balance sheet. I have experienced this a few times. However, forgiving others for wrongs they have done can also provide freedom and release from anger and bitterness that could plague us for a long time.

This does not mean we should not seek a proper resolution to conflicts. Jesus proposed an alternative approach: “If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over. But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses” (Matthew 18:15-16). Taking these steps can help to save a lot of time and money – and heal broken relationships.

© 2021. Jim Mathis is a writer, photographer and small business owner in Overland Park, Kansas. His latest book is The Camel and the Needle, A Christian Looks at Wealth and Money. He formerly was executive director of CBMC in Kansas City, Kansas and Kansas City, Missouri, U.S.A.

Reflection/Discussion Questions

  1.  Have you ever been sued by another person, or have you ever found it necessary to take someone else to court to settle a dispute or correct wrongdoing? If so, what was that experience like for you?
  2. Why, in your opinion, are so many people prone to take legal action rather than trying to resolve conflicts outside of a courtroom setting?
  3. How do you think Jesus’ teachings about forgiveness, and even “loving your enemy,” apply within the context of people taking others to court?
  4. What does how we choose to resolve issues, whether through court procedures or in attempting to reach compromise outside of court, say about our faith – and our relationship with God?

NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more, consider the following passages: Leviticus 19:17-18; Proverbs 25:9-10; Matthew 5:7-10,43-48, 18:21-35; Mark 12:30-31


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