Tavia Dunn, a Seventh-day Adventist litigation lawyer and law lecturer from Jamaica, delivered the following plenary presentation at the Adventist Laymen’s Services and Industries Inter-America (ASi-IAD) annual convention in Nassau, The Bahamas, on August 23, 2019. The text has been edited for clarity but retains the elements of her oral presentation. —Editors
When I told my grandmother that I was going to be pursuing a career in law, the conversation did not go as I had expected. I had expected her to hug me and beam with pride. But my grandmother began to cry. I could tell she was disappointed. She answered with some words from Jesus, “Woe to you lawyers! For you have taken away the key of knowledge. You did not enter in yourselves, and those who were entering in you hindered” (Luke 11:52). Of course, the lawyers of whom Jesus was speaking were the religious leaders of the time, who to sustain their leadership roles were turning faith into legalism.
When I was about to leave home to go to law school, however, my grandmother called me and told me, “Well, child, if that is what the Lord is calling you to do, then so be it. But always remember ‘to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God’ (Micah 6:8).” Over the years, those words have been my guiding light.