“If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.” ~ Matthew 18: 15-17
The practice of law has always been of interest to me. Heck, when I was a kid my hero was Perry Mason. I like the idea of being able to use well-reasoned argument to trap someone in a lie. Even today, I like to end the day with an hour of Judge Judy. Seeing her embarrass obvious liars is pure entertainment to me.
Yet, there are two things I hate about the show.
“Former friends?” What's that about? OK, sometimes we have to axe toxic people from our lives. It’s painful, but sometimes it's necessary. Granted. But, friends, real friends, shouldn't let a single disagreement sink their friendship. Life's to short to lose even one friend over an insurance deductible or a hole in the wall.
1. They'll introduce litigants as being, “former friends.” 2. During their exit interview, someone will inevitability say, “I’ll never help anyone ever again.”
And, if the moral of a story is, “don’t help others,” the story is fakakta. If we’re not helping others, then what are we doing here? Seriously, I sleep much better if I know I helped someone that day. I believe it's, literally, why we're here.
My best friend and I will never agree on politics or religion. She refers to God as, “that fictional guy on the cloud.” We agree on the important things. We agree on how to treat people and put them first. At the end of the, our relationships are our most prized possessions.
People of good conscious can have genuine disagreements, and sometimes we need the courts to resolve such disagreements. Yet, when we allow the adversarial system to cost us friendships, and/or make us jaded toward helping others, we’ve paid too high a price for the resolution of our dispute.