Law and Justice in 2024

Challenges for the Corporate Christian Lawyer 

(by Monica Doumit, originally published in the Transforming Sydney Newsletter – May 2015) 

A little while ago, I was invited to give a talk to a group of university students on the challenges of being a Catholic in a secular workplace. I had spent almost 10 years as a corporate lawyer before making the switch to full-time ministry, and so the students were keen to hear from someone who had struggled with living out their faith in a very secular environment. And while I don’t for a moment suggest that we should abandon the corporate world and look for roles within the Church, there were definitely a number of struggles I was ready to speak to them about. 

There is the struggle of the hours you spend in the office, and the hours you spend doing work at home. On an average day, I would probably switch off at about 11pm, and there was always work to do on the weekends. After a while, you start wondering if the amount of time and energy you pour in to your work should be spent serving the Lord in a way which seems more directly linked to the building up of the Kingdom. There is always that persistent voice suggesting that your talents could be used for more than increasing the wealth of already wealthy people and companies. 

And apart from your own hours, there is also the challenge of seeing how hard the people around you work – often at your behest. I recall sitting in a meeting with a number of external advisers one evening at around 9pm. We had been having nightly meetings while trying to get a deal across the line. At one point, I noticed that all except one of them were wearing wedding rings and I realised that these meetings – necessary as they were for the transaction to proceed – had meant these men and women hadn’t eaten dinner with their spouses or children in two weeks. 

There were also so many times when I would be surviving on a couple of hours of sleep a night – again, usually when working towards a deadline. At those times, your relationship with God suffers immensely. Weeks would go by and my daily prayer life consisted of nothing more than God, please just help me get through today”

All of these are very real challenges for the corporate Christian. While working hard and devoting minimal time to prayer are not necessarily sinful acts, they are hardly ingredients of the ideal Christian life, nor are they conducive to fostering virtue. Indeed, when your prayer life and your sleep are fairly non-existent, sin is usually close at hand because your physical and spiritual defences are down! 

But despite these difficulties, the main message I wanted to convey to these young people was the significant privilege and blessing of being a Christian in the corporate world. 

When I look back at my corporate career, I think of all of the wonderful opportunities available to me to witness to my faith amongst my colleagues. I didn’t set out to let people know that I was Catholic, but it was a difficult thing to hide. I began to become more actively involved in Church life in the years leading up to Sydney’s World Youth Day (2008) and so my Catholic-ness became evident when people asked me what I was doing after work or during my annual leave. 

I can’t remember my faith ever being a cause for conflict, even amongst colleagues who really disliked the Church. Instead, it was the reason for countless moments of grace. Colleagues would often confide in me when a family member was sick or going through a difficult time and ask for prayers, because they were not really people of prayer themselves but wanted to do everything possible for their loved one. Other times people would go on holidays and bring me back a postcard or a trinket from a Church they had visited, because being in a Church reminded me of you.” 

I remember fondly the excitement of another work friend encountering the Gospels for the first time, long conversations about same-sex marriage or contraception over Friday night drinks, and many questions about whatever news meant the Church was in the headlines that day. I realised that most people aren’t antagonistic when it comes to Christianity – they are generally people of goodwill who were just not raised in the practice of any faith, and so it is completely foreign to them. 

For so many, I was the only person they had met who was actively involved in the life of the Church. It made me think often of the saying: “you may be the only Bible other people ever read.” It is a heavy responsibility, no doubt, but also a great privilege. 

Being known as a Christian in a secular workplace meant that I was invited in to the parts of people’s lives which they do not often share with their colleagues. I was blessed with being able to watch people encounter Christ or at least take tentative steps towards Him, to listen to their questions about faith and stand by them in their struggles. 

Being in full-time ministry is a wonderful gift and an immense blessing. Even so, I still am and always will be grateful for the time I spent as a Catholic in corporate life. I would do it again in a heartbeat! 

Scripture Reflection

“I, even I, am he who comforts you.
    Who are you that you fear mere mortals,
    human beings who are but grass,
that you forget the Lord your Maker,
    who stretches out the heavens
    and who lays the foundations of the earth,
that you live in constant terror every day
    because of the wrath of the oppressor,
    who is bent on destruction?
For where is the wrath of the oppressor?
    The cowering prisoners will soon be set free;
they will not die in their dungeon,
    nor will they lack bread.
For I am the Lord your God,
    who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar—
    the Lord Almighty is his name.
I have put my words in your mouth
    and covered you with the shadow of my hand—
I who set the heavens in place,
    who laid the foundations of the earth,
    and who say to Zion, ‘You are my people.’”
(Isaiah 51:12-16 NIV)

From Trauma to Triumph: A Journey to Christ 

(from Lilian Schmid) 

Michael Stover is doing the Spiritual Warfare with Kjell Sjoberg program with us this year (2024). Michael is a champion who survived a horrible childhood, but Jesus never gave up on him. 

I have watched Michael’s interview (on YouTube): 

Tears didn’t stop. 

I encourage you to listen to these 2 interviews and pray for Michael and his wife Sarah and their daughter. He is a true survivor – thankyou Jesus for saving Michael. 

Michael has a mission: the Lord is raising him up to serve others who had similar situations, and to transform his city to Jesus. 

Prayer for Marriage ~ For Those Working in Law & Justice 

“These prayers are a suggested guideline and reminder of what law enforcement officers do to serve our communities every day. Pray for their safety, courage, and discernment. Police help protect our communities and ensure that the law is followed. For help for them to be humble, self-controlled & honest. They put themselves at risk every day. Recent attacks on persons in public places have drawn attention to such risks. Pray for the police, and their families and that the police adhere to the law and resist corruption. The justice system works well when righteous law is upheld. Personal agendas should not be a part of the justice system. Pray that God keeps the justice system upright and honest. Pray for wisdom and protection for them all.” 

For more details and to pray for this intention go to “Prayer for marriage ~ for those working in law & justice” on the Marriage Week Australia website. 

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