As we prepare for mid-term elections in our country, I encourage everyone to vote. But who should you vote for? That is a prayerful decision between you and God. As you pray, there are seven qualities to look for in a leader. Here is virtue number three: justice.¹
If you see in a province the oppression of the poor and the violation of justice and righteousness, do not be amazed at the matter, for the high official is watched by a higher, and there are yet higher ones over them.
Justice is the bedrock of a free society. We must fight against all manners of injustice. Scripture clearly states that we must care for the poor and needy, widows, orphans, and the unborn. Justice means honoring life from conception to natural death. Proverbs 31:8 (NIV) says, “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute.”
Justice is more than a stump speech applause line. We must be diligent in determining if our leaders have the virtue of justice. What do they believe? What is their voting record? Did they seek to defend justice in their private lives before they sought public office? Before they were trying to impress us and get our vote, did they care for the poor? Were they generous?
Justice determines how we respond to a person’s actions. In his book, Essential Truths of the Christian Faith, R. C. Sproul helps us understand the different sides of justice.
Aristotle defined justice as “giving a person what is his or her due.” What is “due” may be determined by ethical obligation or by some prior agreement. Punishment is unjust if a person is punished more severely than his crime deserves. If a person receives a lesser reward than she has earned, then the reward is not just.²
At the end of the day, there is only one who is just, and we bow before him. Everything he does is right, and we submit to his will. In Genesis 18:25, Abraham asked this rhetorical question, “Shall not the Judge of all the earth do what is just?” The answer is a resounding “Yes!” “For God will bring every deed into judgment…” (Eccl. 12:14). That’s why we love and fear him.
Father, we pray for justice in our land. We know that will only happen if those characterized by justice lead us. Give us wisdom as we vote. Help us select leaders who are just. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
¹ These seven virtues are taken from my book, Picking a President: Seven Characteristics to Evaluate, (Back to the Bible, 2016).
² R. C. Sproul, Essential Truths of the Christian Faith, (Wheaton, Ill. Tyndale House Publishers, 1992), 53.