The verdict: Not Guilty

Jury duty is an interesting experience.  I have only been summoned twice, and this week I was selected.  There were approximately one hundred fifty people in the initial room where we gathered prior to being divided into smaller groups and taken to a specific courtroom.  Out of the group of twenty-four individuals of which I was a part, six were selected to hear a misdemeanor criminal case and render a verdict:  Guilty or Not Guilty.

Prior to the selection of the six, the judge took great care to give us basic rules of law and procedures of court.  It was very informative and raised my curiosity as to what to expect should I be chosen, especially as she directed us to forget everything we’d seen in the television dramas.  Once she had given us the preliminary education we would need, we were then asked questions by both the prosecutor and the defense attorney in order for them to each determine who could best serve.

As soon as the jury had been selected, the trial began.  Witnesses who were friends of the defendant were called to give testimony as to his behavior.  It was obvious they did not want to do anything to disparage their friend, and their answers were vague and unsure as they tried to recall the night of the incident which was almost a year ago. Next, a police officer was called.  His demeanor was much more confident, and he answered the prosecutor’s questions with ease.   The defense attorney began his questioning, which at first seemed repetitious.  When at one point the officer contradicted himself, the attorney was like a bulldog!  He hammered away with questions, over and over, in an effort to discredit the officer’s testimony.  He did a good job.

Next, the prosecution called another officer who was the patrol partner of the first.  His version of what happened was completely different from the first officer’s.  A break was called and we jurors were shown to the jury room.  Just a few minutes later we were ushered back into the courtroom and the judge explained that due to the conflicting testimonies, the state wished to dismiss the case.  She ordered us to go back into the jury room and find the defendant “Not Guilty”.  She handed the bailiff a piece of paper, told us we were to write the words “Not Guilty” on the form and return when it was done.  The purpose of the written verdict was to allow this charge against him to be expunged from his record.  It would be as if it never happened.

Not what I expected.  There was no need to examine any evidence.  No need to discuss the testimonies to determine the facts of the case.  No deliberations on our part whatsoever.  The young man accused was freed from the charge that had been held against him.  Was he guilty?  I don’t know.  Maybe, maybe not.  It doesn’t matter because the judge made the decision and it was final.  Over.  He will never suffer punishment for the events of that evening, even if he was guilty.  And do you know that young man didn’t hesitate to receive the verdict?  He didn’t argue or hang his head.  He took it.

We have an accuser and he is a bulldog when it comes to bringing up our sins again and again, trying to condemn us. How many times has the enemy brought back to your mind your failures, faults, and sins?  And how many times have you hung your head in shame or defeat because you felt guilty?  Because you were guilty.  We make mistakes. Sometimes we make really big mistakes.

“My little children, I write you these things so that you may not violate God’s law and sin.  But if anyone should sin, we have an Advocate – One Who will intercede for us – with the Father, it is Jesus…”  1 John 2:1

Jesus sits at the side of the Father in heaven and when Satan accuses us, Jesus is our Defense.  And He’s done a perfect job!

“Therefore He is able also to save to the uttermost – completely, perfectly, finally, and for all time and eternity – those who come to God through Him, since He is always living to make petition to God and intercede with Him and intervene for them.”  Hebrews 7:25

He took the punishment we deserve and set us free to live as if we had never sinned!!

“Therefore, there is now no condemnation (no adjudging guilty of wrong) for those who are in Christ Jesus…”  Romans 8:1 

He has removed our offenses from our record.  In God’s eyes, it is as if they never happened.

We need to decide to believe.  Really believe what Jesus did for us.  The Judge has already heard all He needs to hear, seen all He needs to see to make a decision.  Through the obedience of His Son, God has declared us NOT GUILTY!!

“And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ:  for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.”  Revelation 12:10

“So if the Son liberates you – makes you free, then you are really and unquestionably free.”  John 8:36

Don’t argue.  Don’t hang your head.  Just take it!!

 

 

 

 

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