This Week's Comment from Network 7 News 

Edition 377 Ė September 18, 2004.  

 This weeks  was written by AWR's  North American Correspondent, Dwight Lenhoff.  The full programme can be heard in Real Audio on our web-site.


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It seems as if Americans have become addicted to taking each other to court with lawsuits for a wide variety of reasons.  The civil courts are being overwhelmed with thousands of legal claims that many times seem to me to be quite questionable.  If someone slips while climbing a ladder the manufacturer of the ladder will be taken to court.  Although health professionals have been warning about the dangers of tobacco smoking for over 50 years and packets of cigarettes have had warnings printed on them, people still sue the tobacco companies for their health costs.  One lady sued the McDonald food chain when she spilled hot coffee.  Her claim was that the coffee was hot.  She received millions of dollars.  Porsche motor company had to pay millions of dollars after losing a court case to someone who had an accident in their sports car from driving too fast.  Their claim was that Porsche should have warned them how powerful the new automobile was.  I would have thought someone bought that car because of its high performance capabilities.  

All of this and more has encouraged more and more young people to become lawyers to go to law school to take advantage of the financial rewards in being a part of this profitable part of the US legal system.  This has also created a new career called Mediation.  With the courtís approval, people with complaints against each other over contracts, employment or divorce can now avoid long court delays and high legal costs by taking their case to a Mediator.  The mediator still charges from $150-$300 an hour, but the final costs are often much less for all involved.  

Now all of this set me think about living as a Christian in the 21st Century.   Yes, the Bible does have a few things to say regarding Christians suing each other.  The whole issue of ethics, getting more than I might honestly deserve and how I choose to resolve disagreements come into play.  This subject also got me thinking about how easy it is to convince myself that someone else is at fault when I find myself in some sort of trouble.  Some people go a step further and are sure that whatever happens is either Godís fault, or that the devil made them do it.   

But where does personal responsibility come into play?  When do I stop blaming society, or God or my parents, or the government or my lack of education for where I find myself?   I do believe that as a Christian, I can thank God for his guidance, his inspiration and for creating me with intelligence and creative energy.  I also have found it true that most of the problems I find in my life are of my own making due to my own choices.  And even if I find myself in circumstances that are out of my control, resenting others and blaming them doesnít really bring a solution.  What does move me forward is the hope and encouragement I receive from the Scripture, from the stories of others who moved beyond their own problems and from friends and family who believe in me.   

I may someday need the services of a mediator or I may actually become a mediator for others.  But I also take courage that in the real big issues of Life and Eternity Godís Word reminds me that I already have a mediator in Jesus Christ. 

Iím Dwight Lehnhoff for Network 7 News.

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