What Does The Bible Say About Suing

Biblical Support

The Bible is clear in its condemnation of suing your neighbor: “Do not bring your servant to court,” Jesus says in Luke 12:14. Apart from this direct injunction not to bring a case against a neighbor, the Bible has much to say about the issues surrounding lawsuits. The Psalmist issues a stern warning in Proverbs 6:1-5 which speaks about the danger of becoming involved in ensnaring legal disputes with a neighbor: “My son, if you have put up security for your neighbor, if you have struck hands in pledge for another, if you have snared yourself in the words of your mouth, then do this, my son, to free yourself, for you have fallen into your neighbor’s hands: Go, humble yourself, and press your plea with your neighbor.”

The New Testament is even more explicit in its condemnations of frivolous lawsuits. Paul admonishes believers to refuse legal action in 1 Corinthians 6:1-8: “If any of you has a dispute with another, do you dare to take it before the ungodly for judgment instead of before the Lord’s people? Or do you not know that the Lord’s people will judge the world? And if you are to judge the world, are you not competent to judge trivial cases? Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more the things of this life!”

In Matthew 5:25, Jesus further underlines the gravity of proceeding to a law court and gives no allowance for personal complaints: “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.”


The Bible maintains that disputes are normal and it is important that we should not deny the existence of real problems. When you turn to civil law as an answer, you can risk damaging relationships or creating a feeling of resentment, bitterness or hatred. In Romans 12:18 Paul instructs Christians to “Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them.” Instead of taking legal action, we should try and restore relationships.

In Matthew 5:23-24 Jesus goes further and exhorts his followers to deal with potential problems in relationships before they escalate: “So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother [or sister] has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother [or sister]; then come and offer your gift.”

Jesus saw lawsuits as competing with the peace and harmony that the Kingdom of God is meant to engender and calls those who follow him to act accordingly, rather than to prioritize the law. Compliance with the law is important but, if it conflicts with true love, then it’s necessary to display justice to preserve relationships with others.

Love Your Enemies

The Bible shows Jesus as a strong advocate for justice, and his teachings are full of compassion. Jesus says to love everyone, even your enemies (Matthew 5:44). It doesn’t make sense to preach love, yet remain vindictive when it comes to lawsuits. This doesn’t mean accepting injustice, but rather amicably looking to resolve matters.

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus warns his followers not to seek revenge (Matthew 5:38-41). The famous story of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15: 11-32) is an example of a dispute that was eventually settled without resorting to civil proceedings. Jesus thus illustrates that it is possible to forgive adversities without having the need to go to court.

Overall, Jesus’ legacy is for Christians to act charitably and to never act vengefully. Jesus urges Christians to take risks, trust their neighbours and to aim for reconciliation in disputes. He understood the cost of disputes. Instead of suing each other, Christians should strive to avoid the cost to relationships by looking to resolve matters among each other.


A cornerstone of biblical teaching is a concept of compensation or restitution. Rather than pursuing legal action, God’s justice sees wrongdoers paying for the damage they have done. Reparation should be sought for wrongs committed, but through non-legal means. The Bible encourages believers to mediate disputes and to seek non-violent resolution. Furthermore, it shows us to use non-litigious means to settle disputes. This can be in the form of compensation which can take the form of economic, non-economic and equitable forms.

Jesus taught the importance of restorative justice when he said: “Go, first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift” (Mathew 5:24). This form of justice was adopted into a legal concept by the Church, which formed its own system of dispute resolution. This included mediation, confession of guilt and compensation or restitution. These compensatory measures are based on the understanding that pleasing God is preferable to seeking vengeance or compensation through court proceedings.

The Bible shows us that God’s justice is restorative, so it often speaks against taking legal action and judgment of our brothers, instead encouraging us to use other means of restitution to heal our differences.


In conclusion, Biblical teaching is clear that lawsuits should not be used to settle disputes and resolve disagreements with our neighbor. Instead, believers should look to reconciling relationships, pursuing restitution, and forgiving wrongs. The Bible puts at the step of relationships and encourages loving one another in line with the essential theme of Christian faith and the Bible.

Marcos Reyna is a Christian author and speaker. He is dedicated to helping create disciples of Christ through spreading the power of the gospel to others. He has written several books and articles on a variety of theological topics, including matters of faith, worship, biblical studies, practical ethics, and social justice. A trained theologian and devotee of spiritual writing, Marcos has a mission to spread Christian love everywhere. He lives with his family in Nashville, TN where he spends his days encouraging others to seek Christ's grace in all things.

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