Last night I was invited by the Paducah Human Rights Commission to serve as a panelist for a public forum entitled “Justice for All.” Justice, of course, should be a missional concern for all of us who are followers of the Lord Jesus Christ (Micah 6:8). We are seekers of justice because we serve a God of justice.
Our community experiences its share of problems, of course. We’re not yet in the City of God. But I’m regularly struck with a profound gratitude for the abundant blessings attached to life in Western Kentucky. By and large the folks in this neck of the woods value hard work, neighborly kindness, and respect for human life.
I want to express my heartfelt appreciation for our public servants. As I regularly interface with civic and community leaders in Paducah, I observe a tremendous amount of cooperation, teamwork, selflessness, and charitable giving. I am convinced that our region will advance even more in terms of economic and educational opportunity for all citizens as we deliberately choose to step out in faith and build life-giving friendships which intentionally blur racial, ethnic, and cultural lines.
To those beyond our immediate church family who read this blog, I want to assure you that First Baptist Paducah is committed to loving all people. Period. I extend a hand of friendship to all who will walk this sometimes-broken road with us. Many dividing walls can topple if we will live out the kind of grace that I saw Police Chief Brandon Barnhill model last night. After all, who wants justice without grace (James 2:13)?
Ultimately and once-for-all, perfect justice triumphed at Christ’s cross. We now live in the shadow of that atoning sacrifice, and we’re grateful for every taste of temporal justice afforded by the powers and systems of this world. We’re much like a hungry person who devours an appetizer in anticipation of an even more satisfying meal. But we long for the brightest of days, which has been promised and secured before the foundation of the world, when we will dwell with Christ forever in a land where Justice reigns.