By K. Daniel Glover
Several hundred religious-minded political activists gathered at a Baptist Church in Nashville on Sunday for something called Justice Sunday II. A similar event was held in Louisville back in April. The goal of the movement, spearheaded by the Family Research Council, is to draw attention to the role, for good or bad, that the courts play in setting the moral agenda for America.
As a Christian, I find such events misguided. Sunday is the Lord’s Day, and our focus should be on worshiping Him. It’s not the time for a grassroots rally against the government, however right the reasons behind that rally may be.
I thought the same thing several years ago when, as a journalist, I attended the annual Christian Coalition conference and listened to supposedly spiritual people rant, occasionally in vulgar language, about then-President Clinton’s immoralities. I wanted to yank the beam of hypocrisy from their eyes, to rebuke them for condemning one man’s admittedly heinous sins even as they committed their own in the same breath.
Even so, events like Justice Sunday can be edifying for us Christians watching them from afar. Here are some of the lessons we can learn:
Spirituality is not a political endeavor. Just as the apostles at first did not understand that they were soldiering for a heavenly kingdom, too many people in this country focus their energy on fighting for the earthly kingdom we call the United States of America. But we are here to fight for souls — not for judges, or presidents, or congressmen, or even councilmen.
We are to go to battle not draped in political arguments or with the Constitution in hand but wearing “the full armor of God”: truth, righteousness, the gospel of peace, faith, salvation, and the word of God, which is our “sword of the spirit.” Heed the words of Paul: “Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Eph. 6:11-17).
We should not expect justice in this life. Most men of Jesus’ day rejected His teachings and spurned Him to the point of crucifixion on the cross. He told his apostles to expect the same kind of rejection (John 15:20-21). He also told them to consider persecution a blessing (Matt. 5:10-12), a message that Peter reiterated (I Pet. 4:12-16).
We can and should encourage the leaders of this country to act in ways that are pleasing to God because He has blessed us with citizenship in a country where we can. And we must pray for our leaders because God demands it of us (I Tim. 2:1-3). But we should not lose heart or be distracted from our spiritual warfare when they act foolishly.
Justice delayed is NOT justice denied. William Ewart Gladstone, a British prime minister in the 1800s, said that justice delayed is justice denied, and many Americans who see rampant injustice and immorality in our country today agree with him. But all of them are wrong. Justice delayed is evidence of the unsurpassed mercy of God. God wants all men to come to repentance (II Pet. 3:9), so He tolerates all manner of corruption, in America and throughout the world, in order to give us time to mend our ways.
That mercy is available to all men, every day. But remember, just as sure as there was a Justice Sunday in America this week, there will be Justice One Day for all men. “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad” (II Cor. 5:10).