There was a movie that came out recently that told a medieval court case from three different perspectives: a husband’s, a lover’s, and a wife’s. From the husband’s perspective, he was a great provider that protected his wife. From the lover’s perspective, he was a passionate and romantic man that was saving the wife from her uncaring husband. From the wife’s perspective (which was the actual truth), her husband was an abusive man and her “so-called” lover was a rapist. The viewer is left sweating, hoping and praying that the court will be able to look past their own patriarchy and see the truth and proclaim justice.
Justice is, after all, why God desires courts to exist in all segments of society whether their leaders are Christians or not—because God is a God of justice and righteousness, and has therefore appointed governments in all areas of the world to orchestrate justice on all matters.
That is not to say, however, that governments always carry out justice. After all, the Bible also pictures Satan as having his claws dug into every facet of government, often bringing about corruption and injustice instead of freedom and justice. In the Garden of Eden, humanity decided they wanted to be like the gods and make their own decisions of justice, and we continue to suffer from this god-like judgement in our courts and lives today.
Though occasionally governments, courts and leaders do see things clearly. Sometimes they see past the bias and lies of oppressors and receive the case of the innocent, marginalized, and afflicted. This is government done in a Godly and righteous way and we rejoice when we see it.
In Paul’s case, he experienced both sides of the coin. On one hand, he encountered corruption in a political leader that wanted a bribe from him to be released—but despite his corruption, this leader didn’t actually seem to think Paul was guilty of the things he was accused of. On top of that, several other politicians could not understand what the problem was. Why did everyone hate Paul? What had he done wrong? Why were religious leaders so unjust against him and political leaders so clear-minded (as is still occasionally the case today)?
So as we find ourselves in our own instances of injustice, may we pray that God would break through any corruption so that a verdict worthy of him would be found in the declarations of the people that rule in our societies. For God is a God of justice and order, so injustice and anarchy is inappropriate.
*This devotional was created out of the themes of Acts 25:13-27 found in today’s reading at CommonPrayer.net.