Jury Duty

Last Monday, I had jury duty.

It seems like everyone thinks this is tantamount to being buried alive. I got sympathetic sighs and sad head shakes as well as sorrowful tales of woe along with several apologetic phrases when I shared that I had this on my calendar. The last time I had jury duty I was less than thrilled to be going because of the dilemma it caused to me as a nursing mother.

This time, however, I had no reason not to look forward to this day out of the house, away from my normal responsibilities. I was actually really looking forward to a whole day to sit in a room and read. Well, it didn’t happen exactly like that. I did get a little reading in, but then spent most of the day hearing the trial of a young man and acting as a member of the jury of his peers who determined that he was indeed guilty of felony firearm. The trial was quick and straightforward. Yet, I was really afraid of getting it wrong. I really wanted him to be not guilty.

Despite having had jury duty several other times, this was the first time I have actually served on a jury. I found this service informative and sobering. I must also admit the judge’s reading the instructions was a bit long and repetitive, but it drove home the point of our task and the challenge we had to decide the outcome based on the facts with a presumption of innocence. I found the experience of deciding another’s culpability to be very daunting. While I think we made the right decision in this case, it is terribly sad to me. I am all for justice, but am ever more grateful that Another is the ultimate judge and jury in life and that he offers grace and mercy to those who believe that He came to save them and follow after Him. All of our choices have consequences. For this young man, he’ll be spending a minimum of 2 years in jail, but I hope that he will find the One there who can transform his future and that justice will lead to grace.

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