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?
2. Has the government exceeded its just authority?
3. Have I counted the cost?
The words of Christ, in Luke 14, ought to be often in the ears of those who follow Him. Following Christ is a serious matter and we ought to be sober in our daily walk with Christ. After calling his disciples to hate their parents – and even their own lives – Christ uses a tower-building analogy in order to make the point that one ought to consider the cost of discipleship before committing to being a disciple of Christ.
One of those costs for us, Scripture teaches, is that we will be hated by the world. And those who hate Christ and his followers sometimes occupy the very seat of government. Perhaps you have already counted that cost when you professed faith in Christ, but when government suppresses your religious liberty, as a practical matter, before you respond you ought to carefully consider the cost that comes with a legal action.
Litigation is not as glamorous as Perry Mason once made it seem. Not everyone will agree with your decision, even fellow Christians. Many will openly mock you for your decision to pursue your legal matter. You may have your words carefully edited by the media, construing things in such a way as to make you look foolish. Your family, also, will bear the weight of your decision to enter the legal waters.
The point is not to scare you away from the nearest courthouse, but to encourage you to consider the cost that will come with asserting the right to religious liberty that God has granted you. As much opportunity as there may be in asserting your liberty, it is likewise fraught with its share of burden.
Before proceeding with legal action, prayerfully consider the cost that being a disciple of Christ will mean for you.
. . . . 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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