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‘What does the Lord require of you?’: Bryan Stevenson answers in ‘Just Mercy’

Steve Yount, a senior fellow with the Denison Forum, is a former newspaper editor and public-relations executive working with Christian ministries.

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Just Mercy book review
Jamie Foxx, Bryan Stevenson and Michael B. Jordan attend the "Just Mercy" New York Special Reception in New York, NY, December 15, 2019. (Photo by Anthony Behar/Sipa USA)(Sipa via AP Images)

Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson, first published in 2014 to critical acclaim, could hardly be more timely today.

In the wake of the tragic death of George Floyd, the book will give you a deeper understanding of the racial inequities in our criminal justice system.

Stevenson, the founder of the Equal Justice Initiative, has spent his legal career challenging excessive sentences and wrongful convictions, perhaps most notably in the case of Walter McMillian.

An Alabama judge sentenced him to die for a murder he didn’t commit, even though dozens of people had seen him at a church event at the time of the crime. 

Just Mercy isn’t an overtly Christian book, but Stevenson told The Christian Post that his work is based on biblical principles. “My faith influences and shapes everything I do,” he said. “I remember growing up and the preacher would read from the prophet Micah: ‘What does the Lord require of you? To act justly, and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.’”

The movie version of Just Mercy, starring Michael B. Jordan and Jamie Foxx, can be seen for free during June on several streaming services.

Although a fine film, it can’t match the depth and breadth of the book.