Steve Ellison: Our Day In Court

Sunday, June 30, 2019 - by Steve Ellison

There is an old Jewish saying, “Two men argued over a cow.  One pulled on its head and one pulled on its tale, while it was being milked by a lawyer.”   We have an epidemic in the United States.  Frivolous lawsuits are paralyzing this country.  Not only are court dockets tied up at every level of our judicial system, but just as important is the chilling effect that lawsuits have on people in every walk of life.  Public servants of all kinds, police officers, teachers, ministers, social workers, medical professionals, etc.

are afraid to do their jobs.   Exorbitant awards, ordered by juries and judges alike, not to mention lawyer and court fees, cast a huge shadow over every business and every service organization in this country.  Seldom a day passes, that we do not learn of some entity being literally crushed under the burden of unbelievably large, punitive court ordered awards.  I agree that individuals must have the right to a day in court to address grievances against other individuals, businesses, or organizations.  But surely, we have gone too far.  Lawsuits have become far too common.  We are suffering under this burden.  As always, failing to follow the teachings of the Bible created the problem.  Lawsuits ought to be a last resort.

 

God has spoken to this problem in Proverbs 25:7b-10, “What your eyes have seen, do not hastily bring into court, for what will you do in the end, when your neighbor puts you to shame?   Argue your case with your neighbor himself, and do not reveal another's secret,

lest he who hears you bring shame upon you, and your ill repute have no end.” (ESV)  As always we can learn much from the questions that God asks.   Here God is looking at the problem from the vantage point of the individual, particularly the individual who is the instigator or plaintiff.   God is trying to get us to understand that we ought to be careful before rushing into court.   It seems to me that God wants us to see that whatever it is that we think we saw, might really have been something entirely different.  We may not have seen everything. We may not have understood the circumstances or the context. We might be biased. Once we arrive in court, our opponent or his lawyer will do everything in their power to cast doubt in everyone’s mind, including ours, about what our testimony.  It is quite possible that we might wind up looking very foolish, being put to shame.  The Bible tells us in multiple places that we ought to be slow to anger.  We ought to pray intently before heading off to court.  We ought to remember that any time we go to court, the possibility of losing is always very real.  We ought to carefully weigh the consequences of losing.

 

The last part of this passage details another piece of outstanding advice.  Once court proceedings begin, you and your opponent will both have to answer questions that you would rather not answer.   Questioning invariably leaves simply determining facts of the case and moves toward destroying the character of the individuals involved.   Plaintiffs, defendants, witnesses, no one is exempted.  Character assassination is a favorite ploy of lawyers.  We shouldn’t be surprised.  God told us exactly what would happen in Proverbs 25.  We reveal our opponent’s secrets, he reveals ours, and both reputations are destroyed.  Verse 9 says that our reputations will never recover.  The first part of verse 9 gives a better way.  As reasonable people, we should be able to work this out, one-on-one, in private.  If Proverbs is not enough of an authority for you, Jesus Himself commanded us to attempt to resolve conflicts in private first.


Bridge Refugee Services Receives Support From Latter-Day Saint Charities

Inner Peace Church To Celebrate 15th Pastoral Anniversary July 28

Hawkinsville Missionary Baptist Church Honors Dr. And Mrs. Bobby Hampton For 35 Years Of Service


Latter-day Saints Charities is a world-wide humanitarian organization that focuses on self-reliance and partners with other charitable organizations and governments, including UNICEF, the Red ... (click for more)

Inner Peace Church, 2125 Tunnel Blvd. in Chattanooga, will be honoring Pastor Ron L. and Lady Missie King, Sr. for their 15 years of pastoral service for Inner Peace Church and the community ... (click for more)

Hawkinsville Missionary Baptist Church will be honoring Dr. and Mrs. Bobby L. Hampton, Sr. for their 35 years of pastoral and community service for Hawkinsville Missionary Baptist Church and ... (click for more)


Church

Bridge Refugee Services Receives Support From Latter-Day Saint Charities

Latter-day Saints Charities is a world-wide humanitarian organization that focuses on self-reliance and partners with other charitable organizations and governments, including UNICEF, the Red Cross, Catholic Charities, the World Food Programme, etc., to help those in need. Since 1985, Latter-day Saints Charities has provided assistance “to millions of people in 195 countries.” ... (click for more)

Inner Peace Church To Celebrate 15th Pastoral Anniversary July 28

Inner Peace Church, 2125 Tunnel Blvd. in Chattanooga, will be honoring Pastor Ron L. and Lady Missie King, Sr. for their 15 years of pastoral service for Inner Peace Church and the community on Pastoral Appreciation Day, Sunday, July 28. Sunday school begins at 9:30 a.m.; worship will begin at 11 a.m. The church also has a Wednesday evening bible study at 6:30 p.m. (click for more)

Breaking News

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Smedley, Smith, Boyd, Bankston, Graham Among Candidates Mentioned For 2020 County Mayor Race With Coppinger Possibly Retiring

It may be three years away, but candidates are lining up for the 2022 county mayor race with Jim Coppinger possibly retiring. County Mayor Coppinger said his focus is on continued progress during the current four-year term. Political observers believe he tipped his hat on this being his final term by coming out for a school tax that is unpopular in some circles and lost out on ... (click for more)

Opinion

Opinion Correction: Erlanger Does Not Offer $20,000 Nurse Signing Bonuses

An opinion in Chattanoogan.com on Monday said Erlanger Health Systems had $20,000 nurse signing bonuses. Erlanger officials said that is another local hospital - not Erlanger. Columnist Roy Exum said, "In a story that I wrote on July 15, “A Nursing Shortage?” I mistakenly identified Erlanger Hospital as one hospital that offers prospective nurses a $20,000 signing bonus. ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Use 'Tags' At Erlanger

When I was a senior in high school, the Vietnam catastrophe held the guys who were in my class spellbound. Back then, and has since been proven again and again, the conflict was a terrible error in our nation’s judgment and almost 60,000 young and promising Americans died in some stinking South Asian battle zone that didn’t mean squat to our freedom or our nation’s future. In ... (click for more)