As votes are being cast in a presidential campaign, American Christians are in a position quite different from Roman-era believers. We have a level of earthly power that our Christian forefathers could scarcely imagine. Our biblical obligation to “act justly” becomes all the more meaningful when we have actual authority to hold our leaders accountable for their misdeeds.

That means seeking and praying for justice in real time, during an election, even when men and women fall ill and need sympathy and care. That means asking God to reveal hidden things, to bring to light wrongdoing that lurks in the shadows. That means asking God to protect America from the actions and influence of unjust men.

But the quest for justice must be tempered by a fervent desire (a love, even) for mercy. At the heart of the Christian Gospel is the availability of grace so profound that not one of us receives the justice we so richly deserve.

How many times have each of us done wrong and prayed fervently that we should not suffer the natural and logical consequences of our own foolishness?