Jury Duty was definitely nerve-wracking for me. The initial jury selection was so serious and everything was so formal, simply being in the room scared me.
When a juror was 20 minutes late to the second day of Jury Duty, the judge issued a bench warrant for his arrest. The young lady beside me turned to me, wide-eyed, and said, “Wow – this is serious!”
When the late juror arrived, I noticed the bailiff repositioned himself to block the exit as the judge strictly informed the juror that he was in contempt of court for showing up late. But, he was vacating the bench warrant for his arrest and ordering him back to the jury assembly room and ordering that he be assigned to jury selection for the next case. Then he asked the juror if he understood. No one in the room ever wanted to be late for any phase of Jury Duty after witnessing that!
The seriousness, formality and severity of the atmosphere in the courtroom certainly increased my anxiety. However, as much as I wished I weren’t in the jury box, I was ever so thankful to be in the jury box rather than the defendant’s chair.
Later as the jury deliberated, I was surprised by something. Many on the jury voiced an interesting thought. While they expressed it differently from one another, many jurors said basically the same thing: “I recognize that I, too, break the law. I am not saying that I am better than the defendant. While I feel sorry for him, I still have to weigh the evidence, compare it to the law and vote guilty or not guilty.”
In the end, the jury was unable to reach a verdict. After the trial was over, the attorneys met with any of us who wanted to discuss the case in the hallway. They wanted to interview us a little to find out our thoughts on the case and some of us had questions for them about the process, as well. At one point in the hallway conversation, a fellow juror turned to me and said, “People can believe whatever they want to.” I responded, “Of course, people can believe anything they want to, but when actions break the law, the law has been broken.” The point is that even if a person thinks he is not breaking the law, if his actions are contrary to the law, he is, in fact, breaking the law.
The truth is that we are all lawbreakers and we will all sit in the defendant’s chair one day. When that day comes, we will all stand before The Judge, and we will give an account for even the idle words we have spoken. Most of the defendants will receive the just penalty for their violations of the Judge’s perfect law. Since the Judge is infinitely holy, even the smallest violation of His law merits infinite punishment.
The incredibly good news is that some of the defendants will not experience any of the Judge’s wrath because He has graciously chosen to wipe away their records as lawbreakers and replace their records with the perfect record of His Son. Since His Son lived as a human, without sin, fully keeping the Judge’s perfect law, He has a record as a law-keeper. The Judge, for the praise of His glorious grace, has chosen to give some of the defendants His Son’s perfect record.
How does one recognize who is in this second group of defendants? These are the defendants who have turned from their life of self-promotion and self-glorification and submitted their lives to the Judge. Their lives revolve around their Master-Slave relationship between the Judge’s Son and them. These are the ones whom the Judge will welcome into His home as He would welcome His own Son.
Spending a few hours in a human courtroom helped me appreciate the kindness of God in the spiritual world. There was absolutely nothing I could have done to help myself spiritually before God saved me. I was guilty and there was no way to hide from the One who sees everything. As severe and serious as the human courtroom was, standing before the Ancient of Days would be far more stressful.
But, when I was helpless, The Judge (who is both just and merciful) chose to change my heart to love Him; He replaced my sin-hardened heart with a heart that would be soft towards Him – a heart that would love the truth and the God of truth. And He poured out His wrath against my sin on His own Son, thus satisfying His justice against my sin.
I am thankful for the human courtroom experience for helping me see God’s grace to me in a new way. Most of all, I am eternally grateful that God has secured my eternity with Him. This Thanksgiving season, God’s merciful dealings with me top my list of “Things to be Thankful for!”
We prepared our Thanksgiving earlier than usual but I have been so busy with work and preparing for Christmas, that I have taken quite a while to post this! We used the recipes from last year and were thankful that we had tried and true recipes… no experimentation needed this year! And, I actually enjoyed the liver a little more since I put it on toasted Crusty Dinner Rolls. 🙂
Clockwise from top center: Sweet Potatoes, veggie smoothie in the little white cup, green beans, Slightly Sweet Cranberry Sauce, Aguantar Turkey Liver, gravy, turkey, fruit salad hiding under the rabbit-topped bowl, Candy’s Dressing. Not pictured here: Pumpkin Pie with vanilla ice cream.
(I’ll share more about the veggie smoothie eventually!)
I hope you enjoyed your Thanksgiving with those near to you!
When my anxious thoughts multiply within me,
Your consolations delight my soul. Ps 94:19