Settle It Out of Court

Matthew 5:25-26 Agree with your adversary quickly, whiles you are in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver you to the judge, and the judge deliver you to the officer, and you be cast into prison.
26 Verily I say unto you, you shall by no means come out thence, till you have paid the uttermost farthing.

We are living in a time when lawsuits have become a very common thing. People are very quick to bring litigation, and often it is over such trivial matters. Consequently, insurance rates are skyrocketing. Doctors, for example, have to pay tremendous fees for protection against malpractice suits. Automobile owners are also spending big dollars for protection. It is another sign of the times. The lust for the “quick buck” at someone else’s expense seems to be taking over the hearts of the people. The really sad thing is the fact that we are seeing this same trend among Christians.

In our text Jesus tells us to agree with our adversary before the court convenes. If the case goes before the judge, you will find yourself in a very precarious position. It is quite difficult to obtain a victory from a place of defense. So Jesus gave some good advice when He said to settle it out of court.

The Sermon on the Mount is devoted to principles concerning the Kingdom of God. So it is obvious that Jesus is speaking about something of much greater significance than appearing in a court room before a judge. Actually, He is giving us a spiritual principle that can be a great help in learning how to walk victoriously in Christ.

Our greatest adversary is the accuser of the brethren (Revelation 12:10). One of his most effective weapons against Christians is condemnation. It is effective because the most common “Achilles heel” among Christians is insecurity. Satan is very cunning; he knows how to hit that most vulnerable spot. And he does it through accusations. The thing that gives him such great leverage is the fact that his accusations are usually valid. He will accuse us of something for which we are really guilty. That is why condemnation can get such a tight grip; we know that he is right. The result is a wipeout that sometimes lasts for quite a lengthy period.

You’ve probably heard someone say, “Boy, the devil has been on my back for about six weeks. It has really been a struggle, but I got the victory today!” That kind of testimony has been given countless numbers of times and usually it is given in a boastful way. That kind of victory is not something to be very proud of. Actually, it wasn’t a victory; it was a defeat. He went before the judge, and he was cast into prison for six weeks. Satan accomplished just what he wanted; he immobilized a Christian for six weeks.

The moment we enter into a defensive battle with the devil we become defeated. We have no defense for the Bible says, There is none righteous, no, not one (Romans 3:10). So what do we do in a case like this? We settle it out of court!

Satan has various ways of hitting the “Achilles heel.” He can play upon your insecurity by placing negative thoughts in your mind, making you aware of your inadequacies. Or he can influence someone to say something negative about you. If you take it personally, you are immediately put in a position of defending yourself. Once you fall into that trap you are defeated.

Romans 12:19 Avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is Mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.

We belong to the Lord; we are His possession. Therefore, if someone does something against us or says something against us, it is really an attack against Him. If we refuse to take it personally or be defensive, then the Lord can take care of the problem. He is our shield (Genesis 15:1). But if we react to the situation by trying to defend ourselves, then God is taken out of the situation and our downfall is close at hand.

We cannot defend ourselves without going to court. So Jesus said not to go to court. Agree with your adversary quickly, whiles you are in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver you to the judge, and the judge deliver you to the officer, and you be cast into prison.

When Satan accuses you, agree with him quickly. Just say, “You’re right, Satan. The Bible says that there is none righteous, no, not one. So I have no defense; I am not righteous. But the Lord has shown grace by covering me with His righteousness. He bought me with His shed blood, and I belong to Him.” When you do that you are resisting Satan’s temptation and submitting yourself to God. Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. James 4:7.

When you take yourself out of the picture by refusing to battle Satan and humbling yourself before the Lord, then “the accuser” finds himself facing Christ, and he is defeated. You have just “settled it out of court.”

Copyright © 2000 by Henry DuBose