In my last post, I related former U.S. President Donald Trump’s recent praise of the Bible, admitting it was a better seller than his new book, He said of the Bible, “That blows this book away,” referring to his book, Letters to Trump, “I have to be honest with you.” Yes, please do, especially when it comes to the Bible.
Then I concluded that post saying, “Mr. Trump, I have to be honest with you too. . . . It’s one thing to speak well of the Good Book, which I salute you for. But it’s quite another to do what it says. For example, Jesus’ brother James wrote in the Bible, “Be doers of the word [of God], and not hearers only” (James 1.22 NRSV).
An example is litigation. Donald Trump may be the world’s biggest litigator. Slate magazine has an online article today entitled, “Has Anyone Been Sued More Than Donald Trump?” A comparable article could be written and entitled, “Has Anyone Sued More Than Donald Trump?”
It was widely reported in the U.S. media in 2016, when Trump was conducting his first political campaign to gain the White House, that since 1980 he had filed over 4,000 lawsuits in U.S. state and federal courts. But Trump also has been widely known, at least in his home state of New York, for threatening lawsuits and not carrying through with them. So, Donald Trump is even more likely to be the world’s biggest litigator and mere intimidator of litigation. I think it could be said that Donald Trump’s suing and threatening to sue has been his schtick as a businessman.
Yet by doing all this suing as well as threatening to do so, The Donald seems to have been the least doer of the word of God, that is, the Bible, about this subject. For instance, John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea a message of repentance and baptizing people in the Jordan River about it. The latter was intended to signify an inner cleansing in preparation for the coming kingdom of God. The Gospel of Luke records that John said, “Do not extort money from anyone by threats or false accusations” (Luke 3.14 NRSV). The Oxford Dictionary defines extortion as “the practice of obtaining something, especially money, through force or threats.”
And for the faithful who are supposed to both believe and do the word of God, the apostle Paul wrote, which is also in the Bible, “When any of you have a grievance against another, do you dare to take it to court before the unrighteous, instead of taking it before the saints? . . . In fact, to have lawsuits at all with one another is already a defeat for you. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be defrauded? But you yourselves wrong and defraud–and believers at that. Do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God?” (1 Corinthians 6.1, 7-8).
Now, Paul is referring to lawsuits among professing Christians, which is not necessarily the same as lawsuits in the business world. Yet I think Paul teaches a principle, here, that it is better to err on the side of suffering a loss regarding being wronged than constantly litigating about it.