Blessed are they who observe justice,
who do righteousness at all times!
One of my grandfathers was a federal judge, and I was always a bit in awe of him. He was tall and strong and larger than life, and his hands were like baseball mitts. When you shook his hand, yours would literally disappear in his.
But the place I learned he was most feared was in the courtroom. Grandpa was all business on the bench, and he didn’t put up with any nonsense. Attorneys who tried to win with courtroom antics soon found that he wasn’t amused. And defendants who brought their bad attitudes with them to court were at immediate risk for contempt of court.
One time, my brother and I went to observe him preside over a trial in Miami, a case where some men were accused of stealing drugs from the Federal Customs locker, and then driving their cargo across two state lines. They were facing some serious prison time if they were convicted.
As we watched, one of the defendants took the stand. As the prosecutor cross-examined him, he started to show a bad attitude, which was revealed by his sarcastic answers. Bad move.
My grandfather quickly jumped in and set the defendant straight. “Son,” he said, “You had better change your attitude right now. I won’t have this kind of attitude in my court room. Everyone in this courtroom, including me, deserves your respect, so you had better have some. One more answer like that from you, and I’ll hold you in contempt of this court.”
The defendant narrowed his eyes and looked at his attorney, who clearly was signaling for his client to do what the judge was demanding. With some reluctance, the defendant said, “Yes sir.” And then he started answering his questions with a much different attitude.
Partly because of my grandfather, my family has always had great respect for the law and for justice. As Christians, those should be qualities that we all revere, because God says they’re incredibly important to Him. He says that people who observe justice are blessed. In Proverbs 21:15, we are told that justice is a joy to good and decent people, but it brings terror to those who do evil.
Remember that justice doesn’t just happen in a courtroom. It happens every day of our life in the form of fairness. When we treat people honestly and fairly, we are champions of everyday justice. You will often see people who don’t care anything about fairness, and who will cheat when they think they can get away with it. But also remember that even though they think they’re getting away with it, God still sees them, and one day, they’ll have to have a face-to-face talk with Him about their actions.
This week, work hard to be a champion of everyday justice. Pray that the Lord will give you a heart for His ways, and that He will help you deal fairly with everyone, even if it might be easier or satisfying to do the opposite.
Reflection copyright © 2017 Doug DeBolt.
Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.