Faith at Work: Bill Mims

What do I do? I am a justice on the Virginia Supreme Court. I jokingly tell friends that I get paid to have opinions. On a more serious note, the opinions I write are on unsettled legal questions. My oath requires adherence to the federal and state constitutions, statutory law, and "common law" dating back to the Magna Carta. Yet, I also cannot help but be informed and influenced by my faith. It is integral to who I am.

In this regard, my challenge is no different than for each person reading these words. Our faith relates to our work in three ways.

First, our primary purpose is to glorify God. We do so in many ways but primarily by allowing His Spirit, rather than our egos, to have preeminence. In my profession, the ego temptation abounds. For example, many insist on addressing me as "Justice" or "Your Honor" even when I am not acting in an official capacity. Matthew 23:12 and Luke 11:43 tell me what Jesus thinks of such honorifics.

Second, we are called to do justice and love mercy. Micah spoke truth to power with these words. We are each called to live by them. Justice and mercy are central to the Gospel. They also include our civic duty of equality under the law and our moral responsibility to assist those in need.

Finally, Jesus repeatedly emphasized the principle of empathy - in the Golden Rule and in the second great commandment. A friend once told me her prayer is that her heart would be broken by the things that break the heart of God. That is empathy in action.

As sojourners, guided by the Spirit, we are called to glorify God, to do justice to love mercy, and to treat everyone as we wish to be treated. May it be so in my life.


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