During the past two years, our family has been involved with more lawyers than at any other time in our history. It is true that we had several real estate transactions and used attorneys for those events, but that’s not what I am referring to. Unfortunately, for a number of “unspoken” reasons, we have had to employ at least three different lawyers in the last 24 months.
Now I come from a background with some familiarity with members of the Bar Association and I am here to tell you that I am not overly fond of these folks. I know that they study for years in order to be able to settle disputes and litigate differences of opinion, but as many of you might agree, it seems that the only folks making any money on many of these transactional disputes are the lawyers. Yes, I know – that sounds harsh, but that is the experience Janet and I have.
It seems to me that lawyers, for the most part, seem to be more interested in lining their own pockets that serving the needs of their clients. And I find this extremely frustrating. And another thing – when your expectation is that things will sail right along and the case will soon be over, you tend to be disappointed more of the time than not. I know we have dealt with that at least three times now.
In all fairness, we have been pleased with the outcome of one of the cases we have been involved in. Things could have turned out much worse, but thanks to our counsel, we were able to reach a workable solution – not necessarily fair, but workable and that was good enough for us. Because quality of life is more important to us than just waiting around and putting our lives on hold while some judge passes sentence on a difference of opinion. The odd thing about all this is that lawyers have had a somewhat suspect reputation from the earliest of times. Some of the time that goes for judges also. The news reports are full of stories about judges who had lapses of judgment.
In fact, these issues go all the way back to the time of Paul and even back into the Old Testament. In the book of Acts, we are made aware in the 24th chapter about a case in which Paul is involved. A lawyer names Tertullus brought charges against Paul and asked the court for permission to make his case. Tertullus presented his case against Paul and Felix, the judge, heard both sides of the argument – including Paul’s defense. Paul professed his innocence but Felix became afraid and banished Paul from the proceedings, indicating that he would send for Paul when the time was right. We find out at the end of the chapter that Felix was replaced two years later, without the case being settled, as he had hoped that by frequently inviting Paul to speak, Felix might be favored with a bribe.
Some things don’t come as a surprise and this exchange between Paul, a lawyer and a judge is no exception. Our verse for tonight highlights the charges brought against Paul in this case recounted in the Bible. We are told by Tertullus in Acts 24:5-9, “We have found this man to be a troublemaker, stirring up riots among the Jews all over the world. He is a ringleader of the Nazarene sect and even tried to desecrate the temple; so we seized him. By examining him yourself you will be able to learn the truth about all these charges we are bringing against him.” The Jews joined in the accusation, asserting that these things were true.”
Once again, Paul was falsely accused by people who had personal agendas to accomplish. Unfortunately, this happens too often in our world – even today. My encouragement this evening is that you will always consider opposing views when trying to settle your differences. My prayer is that you will remember that the use of lawyers is for extreme cases only and is not really a biblical way to settle disputes between parties. We are told to approach one another in a spirit of humility and attempt to settle our differences person to person with the help of the church if necessary. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…