Doug Creamer: Jury duty
On the day I returned from vacation, I went to get the mail. There were several letters, so I glanced through them as I walked up the driveway. Bill, bill, a piece of junk, and… a summons to jury duty! Are you kidding me? This was my third time to be called. I was NOT excited.
I looked to see when I was to report, and ironically, it was to be the same time I would have reported back to school. I wondered if God was punishing me for retiring. I have to admit, I was pretty grumpy for a few days.
The letter stated that I was to call the night before to see if I had to show up. I called, and of course, I did. I had a sinking feeling that not only would I have to show up, but that I would be one of the people selected to be on the jury. I just hoped it wouldn’t be a huge trial.
I arrived and checked myself in. As I sat down and looked around the room I sensed that none of us were very excited about being there. I decided right then that I needed to change my attitude. I am a citizen of this community, and in order for justice to exist in a fair and reasonable way I needed to do my duty with a positive attitude.
I prayed and asked God to forgive me for my negative attitude. There was a person on the other side of that courtroom door that needed someone who would listen with an open mind to all the evidence presented, and make a fair and impartial decision. God touched me and my mind, heart, and attitude were instantly corrected.
The clerk of court showed us a video about what an honor it was for us to serve and what our role would be in the process. A few minutes later, we were called into the courtroom and the jury selection process began. They called twelve people to come and sit in the jury box, and I was selected.
The assistant D.A. and the attorney both gave us some general questions and then talked with each one of us. It was a very interesting process trying to determine who would stay and who would be dismissed as jury members. I was very interested in the compassion that was shown to people who were caregivers or to those with health concerns.
The crime was a felony, but in the grand scheme of things, it was a minor crime. What impressed me the most was how professional everyone acted and how the individual was treated with dignity in spite of the charge. The details of the case and the outcome are immaterial, what matters the most is that the judge and jury gave both parties a fair chance at justice in this specific case.
I walked away with a renewed appreciation for our judicial system. If the same care is put into major cases as was in this case, then maybe we can hope that our system works. I am sure that mistakes are made because we live in a fallen world. There are certainly some people in every profession that do not always give their best, and we know that sometimes people don’t always tell the whole truth. But I still contend that my faith in our system was renewed by this process, and I am glad that I had this opportunity.
I am also glad that God’s system of justice is different in two key ways. First, all of us deserve to be sentenced to a life separated from the love of God. But if we are willing to repent, God, who is the fairest and best judge, will forgive us for all of our sins and failures. The gift of eternity with God is free for all who would receive Jesus as their savior. Second, if we have been wronged in life and we can find the strength to turn to God and give Him our case, He will take care of the situation and deal with those who wronged us. God’s justice far outweighs anything we could ever do.
I want to encourage you to open your hearts to God’s love. You may have committed unspeakable crimes, or you might think that you are a good person, but all of us are in need of God’s forgiveness. The only way to find God’s love and forgiveness is through repentance. God stands ready, arms wide open to you…run to Him while there is still time. Today is the perfect opportunity for you.
Contact Doug at firstname.lastname@example.org