Our justice system is broken. Can it be restored? If we believe God is the restorer of all things, that He makes all things new, then that must include broken systems. Here is a quick look at how to actually restore justice in three steps.
Step One: Acknowledge the Problem.
Our friends at Alcoholics Anonymous have it right. You can’t address a problem until you acknowledge it and understand the consequences. The problem in America is a lack of access to justice for all. The consequences are severe.
The U.S. ranks 97th out of 113 nations for providing affordable access to justice according to the just released 2018 World Justice Project Rule of Law Index. Out of 44 categories for measuring the rule of law we rank next to last in “people can access and afford civil justice.” Most of us know our criminal justice system is broken, but almost no one talks about the bigger problem with our civil justice system.
Our court system was set up for professional lawyers. Confusing, daunting and using a foreign language – seriously just try reading a legal document. Because lawyers have a monopoly fees are not regulated. 1 in 3 Americans simply cannot afford to pay hundreds of dollars an hour or several thousand dollars to secure a lawyer’s services. Those who cannot afford an attorney do NOT have the right to a free attorney. As a result every SECOND in America someone is turned away from legal help. Left without hope they wander a complex system disadvantaged and alone.
We fail in our pledge of justice for all. The Rule of Law suffers and the bedrock of democracy is cracked. Those of us who follow Jesus must not turn a blind eye on justice for the poor – the second most prominent theme in the Bible. We must restore justice.
“Stop doing wrong. Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.” Isa. 1:17
Step Two: Understand the Problem
Once you acknowledge the problem you must take steps to understand it. This takes engagement through conversation. Start the conversation at Restore 117 on June 8-9 at Judson University. Meet front line experts engaged in legal ministry for the poor, human trafficking, mass incarceration, immigration, sexual harassment and more. Click on the photo to learn more and register.
Use the code “SeekJustice” and receive $20 off!
Justice is a team sport. Don’t do it alone. At some point separating justice from law is not possible. And separating law from lawyers is equally not possible. There are a lot of people everywhere trying to do justice without lawyers. That is incomplete. At some point it is a good idea to have a doctor talk about health. While we probably agree with that, I am amazed at how few lawyers are asked to join the conversation about justice. Not at Restore 117. We share the stage with pastors, business leaders and advocates, but we also have lawyers – lots of them. Who better to address systemic justice issues?
Engage with lawyers and other leaders as we seek to restore justice together.
Step Three: Do Something about the Problem
Justice is for everyone – not just lawyers. In fact when you leave justice only to lawyers you can get a broken system based on money. But when you try to do justice without lawyers you get a lot of noise with little results. We need to work together.
Come to Restore 117 and get up to three hours CLE. Discover how God has given you your gifts to help others. You won’t do that alone. Learn how God has given you a position of power and a mind that cuts through clutter to know what direction is needed. That is what makes you a lawyer. Whether patents, mergers, estate planning, or other area does not matter. You can cut through the overwhelming circumstances of the law and bring clarity. We’ll help. Visit gji.org/lawyer to learn more.
Come to Restore 117 and meet other leaders who have made justice part of their business portfolio. If it is part of God’s Kingdom, shouldn’t it be part of yours? Learn how you can use what God has entrusted to you to advance His purposes. Your business is meant for something more.
Come to Restore 117. If you have a lawyer in your church then you are not fully empowering your people to serve. A lawyer can serve on your leadership board but so can someone else. Lawyers alone can provide legal advice. Less than 1/10 of 1% of churches in America are involved in legal ministry. Change that. Equip the lawyer in your body to provide advice with prayer and the hope of the gospel for significant impact. Visit gji.org/churchleader to learn how to restore justice in your community.
Come to Restore 117. In fact share this Facebook Post to help us raise awareness and money over the opportunity. Bring others with you. There is an important role for you in legal ministry and in multiple other areas of advocacy. Fuel your God-given passion and gain insight through conversation with others to discern God’s next for you.
God has shown you what is required of you. Do justice. Love kindness. Walk Humbly. (Mic. 6:8) Humility allows you to recognize the problem. Loving kindness will draw you into a deeper understanding. And then do justice. Let’s restore justice together.