Well, this has been one interesting week!!
I received a jury summons and reported for duty first thing Monday morning.
The panel I was on was led into a courtroom where we would hear an indictment for a gentleman regarding possession of inappropriate material (shall we say) depicting minors. YIKES!!! I didn't want to be on that one, nor did anyone else in the room for that matter, and there were about 40 of us.
One by one, we each had to stand (with the defendant and his attorney present) and state our full name, address, occupation, spouse's name and occupation, and the number of children we had. Now, I don't know about you, but that's not really information I wanted this guy to have, if you know what I mean. Problem is, they didn't tell us what he was charged with until we'd all dutifully stood up and given them the information they asked for.
Now here is where this story gets really good...
After the State Prosecutors took us through a round of questions to see if we could serve as impartial jurors, look at video footage of this heinous stuff, etc... the defense attorney turned on us. All of a sudden, it was as though we all were on trial. He asked us all sorts of questions ranging from have you had an alcoholic beverage in the last 12 months, and do you condemn those who have if you haven't?" - to - "Do you have any ethical, moral, or religious beliefs that if someone else didn't believe what you believe you think something bad will happen to them?" I know that sounds a little confusing doesn't it? That's how he worded it. Screech, slow up, halt a minute.... my hand went up... no one else's did.
What is it you believe young lady? he wanted to know. "Well," I said, "I believe Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and that if you believe that you're going to heaven, and if you don't..." This is where he interrupted me.
"If I don't believe everything you believe, then I'm going the 'other way'. Is that it?"
The Judge, now puts a stop to this line of questioning and calls the attorneys to the bench. He seems a little flustered with this particular attorney. Gee, I can't imagine why.
The attorney's return from their little chat with the Judge at the bench, and I put my hand back up.
"Yes, ma'am what else?" the attorney says.
"Well, I just wanted to clarify. You don't have to believe everything I believe about everything. But, you do have to believe that Jesus was the Son of God, or yes sir, I believe you're going to hell."
You could have heard a pin drop!!!
After we broke for lunch, about a half dozen people or so came up to me and said things like, "I'm so glad you had the guts to say that." "I was going say that too, but I didn't." "I believe just like you do." "I was about to put my hand up, when they called the lunch recess."
Well, it didn't take guts, I can assure of that, because I didn't have any. My heart was pounding! I had to sit and state my name, again, and then tell this man I thought he and all the rest of that room were going to hell if they didn't believe Jesus was the only way to heaven. It did however take obedience. You see, in Matthew 10:32-33, Jesus said, "Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven." So, did I have a choice? Not really, I had to be obedient, 'cause I can't think of anything worse to have happen to you than for you to go to hell.
Some young girl (about 19) raised her hand and said, "I just wanted to say that I disagree. I have my beliefs, but I think everyone can believe whatever they want to."
As I walked from that courtroom to go to lunch, I felt very alone, but the Holy Spirit brought to my mind Paul's words is Romans 8:18, "For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us." and 1 Peter 4:16 "Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter." and 2 Timothy 3:12 "Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution."
So, if by any chance, what I did glorifies God, I just hope the elders are busy throwing their crowns at HIS feet. Revelation 4:9-11 "Whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to Him who sits on the throne, who lives forever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before Him who sits on the throne and worship Him who lives forever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying: “ You are worthy, O Lord, To receive glory and honor and power; For You created all things, And by Your will they exist and were created.”
When we returned from our lunch break, I turned to my seat mates and said, "Ding! Everyone ready for round two?" Ah, at least I still have my sense of humor!
Abiding in His Sovereign Grace!