Monday, September 17, 2007


Hypothetical Situation #1: You are driving down the road, when traffic slows to a stop at a red light. The person behind you, driving a truck and pulling a horse trailer, fails to slow down and rear-ends your car, doing non-negligible but non-critical damage to the read of your car. You proceed to do all the usuals, trading contact and insurance information, and only later find out that their insurance had lapsed. What do you do?

  1. Talk to the person, and try to arrange for their reparations of your car.
  2. Talk to the police and/or a lawyer and begin some form of legal action to recover damages.
  3. Let it drop, since the damage is no-critical.
Hypothetical Situation #2: Same as the above case, with the exception that the person who rear-ended your car is not reachable (phones disconnected or unanswered, etc.). What do you do?
  1. Talk to the police and/or a lawyer and begin some form of legal action to recover damages.
  2. Let it drop, since the damage is no-critical.
Hypothetical Situation #3: You enter into a business relationship with a friend, investing a fair amount of money into the venture. As time goes by, you begin to realize that your friend was a poor choice as business partner and discover that bad management and actions of dubious legality are resulting in the total loss of your investment. What do you do?
  1. Talk to your friend and either force him to straighten up or vacate the arrangement.
  2. You cease your part in the business.
  3. You begin legal action to possibly recover some or all of your lost investment.
Hypothetical Situation #4: Same as case #3, with the exception that the business partner is not a friend, but simply a partner. Same choices as above.

Hypothetical Situation #5: You discover, round about, that someone or someones at work have been talking badly about you - rumors, gossip, exaggerations, half-truths and outright lies which are both malicious and damaging to you personally and professionally. You quickly discover who has been doing this. What do you do?
  1. Vocally denounce the rumors that have spread and try to clear your name.
  2. Speak to the person/people who have initiated this to find out why they are doing this and try to get them to stop.
  3. Quietly speak to your boss and/or their boss to clarify the matter and defend yourself.
  4. Ignore the matter, though hurtful, and trust that your life will speak for itself.
Multiple answers for each question are allowed.

I propose these hypothetical situations as a continuation of the discussion begun in my previous post on Christianity and indemnification. "Defend" in the previous post seemed to be more narrowly defined by readers than I had intended. A good discussion was had on gun ownership, but I intended the topic to be a broad discussion of defense of self, possessions, honor, etc. What does it mean in our daily lives to turn the other cheek, to go the extra mile? (Luke 6:27-36, Matthew 5:39-41) As to the above questions, I don't know that I have good answers - even though several have not been "hypothetical" in my life. As before, I have to ask myself why pursuit of justice ends and vengeance begins. Where is my forgiveness? Where does the legal system that we have, and the protections it allows - which are, mind you, ordained and allowed by Jehovah - cross the boundary of righteous behavior?


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Susanne said...

Tough questions. I have an idea that what I would do is not necessarily what Christ would do.
#1 and 2: my answer would be choice "1," but if I didn't get anywhere I'd let my insurance cover it since I have non-insured coverage.
#3: choice 1, then 2.
#4: choice 1, then 2, then 3.
#5: 1 through 3. I think Christ would do the same in this situation (#5). What do you think?

Amy said...

1) #1 and depending on how that went possibly #3
2) I might talk to the police (I was hit and run once and did this, but obviously there was nothing they could do, so I paid for it myself through my insurance), but I'd otherwise be likely to go with #2
#3) Er, #1 and then possibly #2
#4) numbers 2 and 3, I might address it vocally (#1) depending on the exact nature of it. I tried this once when someone was spreading rumors about me to my co-workers, and the person I was talking to hadn't even heard it (though many others had) and so I realized quickly that if others have questions I should answer them but I shouldn't be too aggressive about defending myself--it could easily lead to more problems)

Great questions and great way to continue the discussion.

Unknown said...

1 Corinthians 6 (NIV)

Lawsuits Among Believers

If any of you has a dispute with another, dare he take it before the ungodly for judgment instead of before the saints? Do you not know that the saints 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! Therefore, if you have disputes about such matters, appoint as judges even men of little account in the church! I say this to shame you. Is it possible that there is nobody among you wise enough to judge a dispute between believers? But instead, one brother goes to law against another—and this in front of unbelievers!

The very fact that you have lawsuits among you means you have been completely defeated already. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be cheated? Instead, you yourselves cheat and do wrong, and you do this to your brothers.

euphrony said...

Amy, I'm sorry but you skipped a question (the follow-up to #3). I deduct 20% from you grade. ;)

Susanne, your answers to #3 and #4 are different. Why would you say that is? Because the other person involved is not a personal friend? I appreciate the honesty, and I'm not by any means criticizing - please be sure of that - but I am curious.

Thanks for sharing that verse. It was definitely on my mind while writing this. In it, Paul specifically addresses interactions among believers; but what about for dealings with the world? I find myself believing that God doesn't want us to treat them any differently than we treat us. Many examples of commands to love our enemies, to consider others as better than ourselves, to treat everyone as we would hope to be treated, etc. So, if we would not bring suit against a fellow believer, why should we do so against those who do not share our hope? I think Paul was just specifically harping on the Corinthians, there, because the shamefulness of the lawsuits was degrading the name of Christ. What do you think?

Unknown said...

I think you are right. The verses in Matthew and Luke you point to are quite clear. I brought up the verses from Corinthians because I see Christians failing in even that, too. Think of the shame of denominations suing member churches (or vice versa) over whose property a church building is during acrimonious debates over doctrine and schism as a good example. How far away is that from Christ? I think about as far as you can get.

Good post.

Amy said...

my whole comment looks like a mess to be completely honest.

I think #4 would be whatever I put for #3.

Brody Harper said...

#1. Let my insurance handle it.

#2. Still let my insurance go after them.

#3. 2.

#4. 2.

#5. 5. mention the entire situation to the office including the person/people spreading the rumors. Bring everything out in the open and ask them what the deal is.

euphrony said...

Brody, since I didn't say anything about making up your own answer, I guess you'll get away with it for #5. Actually, I had intended to make a note that you could add an answer if one of my limited options didn't fit. Way to take initiative!

Amy, I'll accept the make-up answers. You're grade is restored.

Thanks, everyone, for your answers. There may be something more along these lines coming up soon.

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