Have you ever been involved in a lawsuit? Did you know the Bible contains instructions on how to avoid liability and going to court? In fact, many of the earliest U.S. laws were inspired by the Bible. Deuteronomy 22:8 says, “If you build a new house, you must construct a guard rail around your roof to avoid being culpable in the event someone should fall from it.” During that time period in history and in that culture, roofs were often flat and were used as an extra space for work, recreation and even sleeping. Neglecting to put up some sort of parapet put the safety of those on the roof, as well as those in the courtyard or street below at risk. The Bible has several laws regarding compensation for loss from damage to property, injury to people or livestock, and even death.
“A danger foreseen is half avoided.” —German proverb
“Consideration is the parent of wisdom.” —Latin proverb
“The inconsiderate is the first to lose.” —Egyptian proverb
The best way to avoid liability is to consider potential dangers and quit being lazy or reckless. For example, if the weather becomes snowy or icy, we should shovel, snow blow, salt or sand areas where people such as mail and package carriers and fuel deliverers travel so as to avoid an accident and make it easier for them to do their jobs. We should drive defensively rather than offensively to avoid crashes. If we own livestock or pets, we should make sure they are kept from doing damage to our neighbor’s property. The bottom line is we should consider others and not just ourselves.
“Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.” —Philippians 2:3, 4
“Love thy neighbor as thyself.” —Jesus
If an accident or offense does take place, Jesus said, “Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison.” (Matthew 5:25) In other words, if something does happen, take responsibility and try to settle it out of court, if possible, especially if the dispute is between two Christians.
“Do not wrong or hate your neighbor, for it is not he that you wrong, but yourself.” —Native American proverb
Happy New Year everyone! Have a safe and blessed year!