EDITOR’S NOTE: The following was written for, and used with the permission of, Liberty Institute.
Not many people look forward to going to court. From jury duty to car wrecks to business matters, resorting to a court is an unattractive proposition for anyone. And, for those called to live at peace with all men (Romans 12:18), pursuing a legal action for a Christian can seem to threaten our very sanctification.
Though God has blessed each of his creatures with the human right to religious liberty, threats to that freedom religious liberty grow daily in our country. And, often, the chief offender is the same government tasked with protecting our freedom to believe, live, and do business according to our faith. When your religious liberty is in jeopardy, should the faithful Christian resort to a legal action?
Before proceeding with a legal action, consider the following five questions:
1. Is this an opportunity to glorify God?
While we can come up with a dozen reasons not to proceed with legal action, Christians rarely stop to consider that engaging the legal process may, in fact, be a means by which you are called to glorify God.
Before dismissing the option of a lawsuit, consider the opportunity such an endeavor may provide. Lawsuits are public proceedings and often attract significant attention by the media. You and your attorney will be given a unique platform on which to present the reason you have asserted your God-given right to religious liberty. That’s not something we should quickly reject.
It is interesting to see how the Apostle Paul invoked the rights that he possessed as a Roman citizen. One of those rights was the right to appeal to have his grievance heard by Caesar himself. When religious leaders had Paul jailed and then plotted to ambush and kill him, Paul elected to invoke his right of appeal. When he was arrested, he used his arrest to proclaim the Gospel (Acts 21-22). He then spoke of “the Way” to the Roman governor Felix and his wife, Drusilla (Acts 23-24), then Festus (25), and even Agrippa (26). At each opportunity, he used his legal proceedings to proclaim the Gospel.
But, he did not end there. The rest of the book of Acts and the subsequent Epistles of Paul are a result of Paul’s invocation of his right as a citizen to have his case heard by Caesar. While in Rome, awaiting trial, Paul wrote most of the New Testament and even advanced the Gospel into what is today Western Europe.
While you may not have the opportunity to address three kings, Caesar, and all of Caesar’s household, nevertheless consider that God has ordained whatever conflict your exercise of religious liberty now faces to provide an opportunity for you to glorify God by proclaiming the Gospel.
. . . . continues tomorrow . . . .
Jeremy Dys is President and General Counsel of The Family Policy Counsel of West Virginia. In addition to his duties of providing strategic vision and leadership to the FPCWV, Dys is the chief lobbyist and spokesman. Dys is regularly featured in local, state, and national print, radio, and television outlets. He lives close to Charleston with his wife and growing family.
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