I spent the better part of today in a jury pool for a criminal felony trial. I’d never been called to serve on a jury, and while the process was not exactly exciting, I felt the potential weight of sitting in judgment over someone’s future. The defendant was present in the courtroom during the entire selection process. A real person. A real life.
In the end, I was dismissed. Nineteen possible jurors before me were struck from the jury. The man in line immediately before me, so to speak, was the last of twelve jurors chosen. Mostly, I felt relieved that my week wasn’t to be spent in the courtroom judging someone to be guilty or not guilty. But I also felt a bit disappointed that God’s commission to me as a truth-seeker would not be used in this quest for a fair and just decision.
The alleged victim wasn’t in the courtroom today. But his/her life, his/her future, is--in a sense--just as real and in the balance.
Truth. Justice. Guilt. Judgment.
Today I sat in that courtroom hurting for the victims in this world. And I hurt for the true criminals who are victims of the rulers, the authorities, the powers of this dark world and the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. I grieved that so few know Truth. Life. Freedom.
And I couldn’t help thinking how liberally we dish out judgment every day regarding people or events we really know nothing about. Oftentimes, we’re so far removed from what’s actually happening in people’s lives and in their hearts, that we have no problem assigning guilt. Or leaving them to face the consequences they’ve reaped for themselves. Or turning our backs on the cries of a world soaked in sin and despair. The people simply aren’t real to us.
I wonder how different our days, our passions, our efforts would look if we took the time to consider that every bit of strife and suffering around us is happening to real people. Not to headlines or tidbits on the evening news. Real people. And I wonder what God might do with a community of believers truly devoted to bringing the Christ-life to the world around them.
I wonder what that looks like for me. How my life will have to change. How costly that will be. How meaningful.
I wonder . . .