Should Christians Sue?

I have discovered that getting a law degree is one thing and reconciling my beliefs as a Christian with some matters relating to the law is another thing entirely. As I randomly think about this article topic, a few thoughts cross my mind which I hope to pen down in subsequent lines of this article.

First, according to, to sue someone means that "you're accusing them (in court) of doing something wrong or illegal and demanding that they pay for it." So now back to the question: should Christians sue? 

In our day-to-day lives as Christians, we often have relationships with Christians and also with unbelievers, either at work (colleagues, bosses, clients, customers), in our homes (as neighbors, landlords, or tenants), or even as schoolmates. As humans, we are bound to have quarrels, and sometimes these quarrels may escalate. When these issues escalate, should we, as Christians, go to court as a first resort? How should Christians go about this? And for entities that are not in our spiritual family, shouldn’t there be a difference in our dealings with them? Even if we are lenient with our fellow Christians, should it be extended to unbelievers?

To understand this and draw a conclusion, dealing with these entities will be divided into two categories for better comprehension:
  • Issues that happen in the church among christians
  • Issues that happen outside the church

Should Christians sue fellow Believers for Issues that happen in the church?

Our main point of reference will be 1 Corinthians 6:1–10, which is a message by Paul that talks extensively about suing among church members. 1 Corinthians 6:1-2 (MSG) says, And how dare you take each other to court! When you think you have been wronged, does it make any sense to go before a court that knows nothing of God’s ways instead of a family of Christians?

After carefully reading the scripture, you would notice that Paul was against Christians taking church matters outside the church to be judged by people who aren't Christians. He said that instead of doing that, why not just settle it amicably in the church by looking for someone wise enough to help settle it? The scripture furthermore mentioned, “Is it possible that there isn’t one level-headed person among you who can make fair decisions when disagreements and disputes come up?" I don’t believe it. And here you are taking each other to court before people who don’t even believe in God! "How can they render justice if they don’t believe in the God of justice?” meaning that do not take the affairs of your fellow Christians outside the house of faith to be judged by unbelievers because it means the church as a body is not competent enough to solve its own issues, and for people who believe in the God of justice, that is a huge blow in the face.

Read: Should Christians Engage in Betting?

Paul further stated that it is better to be cheated and wronged as a Christian by another Christian in the church than to take the case out of church. verses 7–8 (MSG): “These court cases are a black eye on your community. Wouldn’t it be far better to just take it, to let yourselves be wronged, and forget it? All you’re doing is providing fuel for more wrong, more injustice, bringing more hurt to the people of your own spiritual family.”  And there is a reason for this: it is unlikely for two Christians to wage a war in court and then come back to the church and continue as brothers and sisters. It is unlikely, which is why he said it is better to be wrong than to hurt another person in the spiritual family. For the sake of keeping the individual in the household of faith, it is better to be wronged and overlook it.

Should Christians Sue Non-Believers?

Having tackled the issue of believers, now let’s take a look at what Christians should do when dealing with unbelievers. If settling this issue amicably out of court can be achieved, there is absolutely no need to take the non-believer to court. At the end of the day, we as Christians are to live as we have been told to by the Scriptures. The scriptures teach us to be willing to offer mercy rather than judgment to people who have offended us.

Flowing from the above, there are some cases where you may be forced, as believers, to use the law to defend yourself against government bodies or a business, whoever it may be, just like Paul did when he was wrongly accused of a crime he didn’t commit. In Acts 21–22, there is an extensive explanation of Paul’s arrest and torture by the Romans. He was beaten and treated badly for a long period of time, and when the Captain noticed the anger of the people, he had no option but to call Paul into the barracks to get to the bottom of things. As he was being prepped to be interrogated under torture, he had to use the law and his citizenship to defend himself. This can be seen in Acts 22:25. Paul asks, “Is this legal—torturing a Roman citizen without a fair trial?” This resulted in his release.


Having looked at these two scenarios clearly, as Christians, according to the scripture, there is a pattern to follow when dealing with believers. It says in Matthew 18:15–17 “If a fellow believer hurts you, go and tell him—work it out between the two of you. If he listens, you’ve made a friend. If he won’t listen, take one or two others along so that the presence of witnesses will keep things honest, and try again. If he still won’t listen, tell the church.  If he won’t listen to the church, you’ll have to start over from scratch, confront him with the need for repentance, and offer again God’s forgiving love.” 

Lastly, we know there are some exceptional cases that may leave one confused, and as a result, one is left with conflicting thought processes. We should note that as Christians, before making any decision, it is good to seek the face of God to ask for wisdom, according to James 1:5, and we must also keep in mind that we should always lean towards mercy because that’s what God wants us to do.

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