Before leaving this particular topic, I just wanted to make a few more observations that profoundly impacted me in reflecting on my service in last week’s jury trial.
Throughout the trial, I found myself often glancing over at the defendant. How would I feel if I knew that my future would be determined by twelve other people hearing and watching some of the details about my life (NOT good details, at that)?
As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, all the jurors personally witnessed the events that preceded the defendant’s arrest. That 30-minute police body-cam video revealed a human being at one of their most shameful moments. It was pretty apparent that the defendant had a drug problem (he was pretty much “wasted” in the video – unable to speak clearly, or stand properly, or think reasonably). Immediately, you knew that even if he was not guilty of the crime of which he was currently accused… he WAS clearly guilty of drug use and of slowly (or rapidly) destroying his own life.
To be honest, he was not a shining example of humanity. But I found myself truly sorry for him.
In thinking about all this, I would like to offer two points…
First, all of us have been guilty of doing stupid things. Maybe not to the degree of being arrested OR having your stupidity recorded for other people to see! But hardly any of us have our slates completely free of crazy stupid moments that we would surely like to forget.
It is so easy to neglect that fact when we are dealing with the “stupid” moments of others. Jesus’ advice should apply to all of us: “Let the one who is without sin (or stupid moments) throw the first stone!”
Our first reaction, in any situation where we are tempted to be critical of others, should be to reflect on our own stupid moments… before we berate or judge the stupidity of others. Compassion (and humility) go a long way toward preventing us from demeaning others.
Second, we all need to be reminded of one very certain fact… one day, we will all stand before our Maker – and He HAS SEEN every raunchy detail of our lives. Someday, all of us will be face to Face with the One Who has recorded all our stupidity and Who cannot fail to remember every sordid, regrettable detail.
Some people seem to think that they will be able to stand before the Great Judge and defend their lives – make their case of how they deserve to be resolved of guilt for their sins… but the Bible tells us this is NEVER going to happen (Rev. 20:11-15). Your life, in this life, makes your case – and the decision about your guilt or innocence is already decided… before you even arrive in the Judge’s court.
But here’s the good news… those who turn to Jesus and receive what He has done, on their behalf, will find that the judgment they deserve has already been poured out on Jesus. HE took God’s judgment for our sins. We will not carry our sins (or our guilt) into the Great Judge’s court. Jesus is the One Who will stand in our defense!
We all have one life to live… and at the end of our life, we will all have a trial to face. It is sobering to realize that everything about us will be laid bare before the One Who will make us the focus of His attention on that fateful day.
There is no greater fear than in knowing that your condemnation goes before you.
But… there is no greater joy than knowing that Jesus stood in your place, and will stand in your defense.