Diane Stretton was hired as a live-in nanny. Her job responsibilities included: watching Marcella Bracaconte’s children a few hours a day, light house work, and help cooking dinner. Everything worked well for a month or two, and then things went terribly wrong.
According to Bracaconte, Stretton refused to work for an entire month and closed herself in her room except to come out and eat. Bracaconte fired Stretton and tried to have her removed from the house. But when she looked for help from the police and the courts, Bracaconte had a rude awakening…the law is on the nanny’s side!
You see, this isn’t Stretton’s first legal rodeo. She knows how to use California’s laws to her advantage. According to CNN investigators, she has been in court many times over the years. In fact, the “nightmare nanny,” is so litigious, that she is on California’s notorious “Vexatious Litigant List.” This list is for those who “continually bring legal action, regardless of merit, against others with the sole intention of harassment” (CNN; #Squatting Nanny).
California isn’t the only state that keeps a list of repeat litigants. Some countries have been keeping these lists for years. But here is a little food for thought: Is there a Vexatious Litigant List at your congregation?
Wow. What an awful thought! Have you ever seen people in the church bring frivolous complaints and start arguments, “regardless of merit,” for the intention of harassment? And if so, do we simply put them on a list, or do we deal with them Biblically? And what would that look like?
Of course, Christians are cautioned against bringing suit against each other (1 Corinthians 6:1-11). Believers ought to be able to handle issues internally and not “air their differences” among non-believers. And Jesus prayed for unity among His believers (John 17:21). There is nothing quite so sad or un-Christlike, as disunity.
Nevertheless, the Apostle Paul once commanded Christians to, “keep away from every believer who is idle and disruptive” (2 Thessalonians 3:6). We must watch our words and our lives in order to save others, not cause them to stumble (1 Timothy 4:16). Saving others includes distancing the impressionable from the contrarian.
So…before you “go to court” against a fellow believer, or bring a complaint to the elders or others (especially outside of the church), consider this: do I tend to complain a lot? Am I always the contrarian on matters of opinion or expediency? Is it possible I made my congregation’s Vexatious Litigant List? And if so, how will I start living differently today?