Not only were they failing to put the believer out of the church who was engaged in sexual immorality (chapter 5), but they also were dragging other believers to court. This is a shameful practice because the church should be able to deal with disputes between believers. By the way that Paul wrote about these disputes it seems that it was over business matters, money, and other small matters; not about sexual abuse by others. I believe that if it was over sexual abuse or major crime issues, then Paul would have instructed them to hand over the guilty party to the governmental courts to receive proper punishment.
“If any of you has a legal dispute against another, do you dare go to court before the unrighteous, and not before the saints? Or don’t you know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world is judged by you, are you unworthy to judge the smallest cases? Don’t you know that we will judge angels — not to mention ordinary matters? So if you have cases pertaining to this life, do you select those who have no standing in the church to judge?”
1 Corinthians 6:1-4 HCSB ( https://www.bible.com/72/1co.6.1-4.hcsb )
Paul was a staunch believer in keeping the peace
Paul's stance is that the people in the church should settle disputes between members when they arise. It is natural to have issues between members of a congregation of any size. Just because we are Christians doesn’t mean that issues will not arise between us, but when they do we should handle them according to the standards of God and trust our fellow Christians to be wise and fair enough to come to a proper conclusion. It is also possible that they were taking them to court where they could bribe the court into deciding in their favor.
“Therefore, to have legal disputes against one another is already a moral failure for you. Why not rather put up with injustice? Why not rather be cheated? Instead, you act unjustly and cheat — and you do this to believers!”
1 Corinthians 6:7-8 HCSB ( https://www.bible.com/72/1co.6.7-8.hcsb )
He goes as far as saying that to have such an issue in the church is a moral failure. It is not a moral failure just for the two parties involved, but also for the entire church that failed to resolve the issue. Paul was a staunch believer in keeping the peace (Rom. 12:18) and said it would be better to be cheated than to be found to be the one doing the cheating.
This is hard for most of us to put up with being cheated and many would reject this idea from the start. After all, we have rights. Nobody has the right to cheat us. Paul isn’t saying that they have the right to cheat you. What Paul is saying is that sometimes it is better to let some small matters go to keep the peace. Jesus would agree with this according to His sermon on the mount in Matthew 5:9, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” The entire attitude toward disputes among believers in the Church at Corinth is at odds with proper fellowship and brotherly love.
First, the one who did the wrong should have made it right. If they mistakenly or even purposely cheated their fellow Christian they should have repented and made the situation right. Instead, it seems that they look to do even more damage to the fellowship between believers and the church by taking the matter to court in hopes of being the victor.
Furthermore, the church should have stepped in to settle the issue instead of allowing it to get to the point that it ended in court. This more than likely happened more than once and seems to be the common practice of the church. This is shameful because the community was getting to know the church in a manner that failed to show them the love of Christ. Would you want to be a part of a church that was always taking each other to court?
To maintain proper fellowship in the church is hard, but it is well worth it. The reason it is hard is that we come together with others from different backgrounds, likes, dislikes, and spiritual maturity. The more mature within the church should help to keep the peace and be examples of brother love, and humility; helping the less mature to grow in the faith. This is hard because we make the mistake of equating numbers of years as a Christian into the level of spiritual maturity. The one does not guarantee the other. Another reason it is hard is that we all have a sense of self-righteousness; which hinders us from seeing our faults and at the same time keeps us focused on the faults of others.
To maintain a proper fellowship within the church, we all have to be willing to give love, mercy, grace, and forgiveness to others within the body. We can do this by dying to ourselves and staying connected to Jesus through daily bible study and prayer.