Jury Duty

Several weeks ago I received a summons to appear at the courthouse in the county I live in for possible jury duty. I reported this morning. There were between 40 and 50 potential jurors in our pool. We were questioned during the jury selection process, which took about three hours. Then I found that I had been selected as one of the twelve jurors to decide a criminal case. We had recess then we entered the courtroom to hear the opening arguments. By then it was nearly noon so we recessed until 1pm. When we came back into the courtroom after lunch, we heard the evidence from both sides. Both sides rested their cases around 4pm. The judge then called a recess for the day and ordered us back at 9am tomorrow for closing arguments, legal instructions from him then deliberation.

I was more than a little shocked that I was selected. Most of the people I work with assumed that I would not be selected because of my very apparent Christian convictions, faith, and walk. They were sure that the defense would not want me on the panel. Why? I suppose they assumed that all Christians like me are also bigoted, narrow minded, right-wing, law and order types who want all accused people on trial to be sent to the gallows.

Instead, I have found that the believer who is real will be compassionate as Jesus is compassionate. He or she will not be tied to the what I call conservative religiosity, the melding of conservative politics with fundamental Christianity. My coworkers seem to believe that a professing Christian like me will automatically fall into that mind set. However, that is not the case for those who are walking this walk by faith. They are spirit-led or spirit-filled and are in the process of taking on Christ’s character. That character is compassionate. It will not always be automatically lined up with conservative politics or over-zealous law enforcement. Instead, they know that all judgment is God’s, not theirs. He or she will obey the laws of the land they are in except where their obedience to those laws will cause disobedience to God.

Until this jury trial is over my coverage of email and comments will be next to nil. I ask for your patience and your prayers for wisdom and discernment.

In Christ

Mike Ratliff

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11 thoughts on “Jury Duty

  1. Mike…

    ::::news flash::::

    You are narrow minded!!!!

    As am I…

    we are narrow minded to the thoughts between Genesis and Revelation

    It’s called the Five Solas!!!


    I know you know this…just want to laugh at your expense


  2. Seth is trouble maker…he only comes to my site to listen to the music…oh, and read the posts sometimes! :o)


  3. Mike,

    It’s interesting that you had mentioned this experience in court the other day. I also had a thought the other day involving a court of law and this is what it was.

    Mike if you were called before a grand jury as a public defender defender of the faith that was once delivered to the saints what is that one shred of evidence that you would submit to the jury that points to the fact that Jesus Christ entered this world 2000 years ago did many miracles , was crucified on a tree, and was risen the third day?


  4. hi Mike, Wish you all the best in your jury duty. May God enable you to make the right decision, and you are definitely right, we can be more compassionate and empathetic towards others when we are true christians, the main reason being that we know that we have no good in us and its all christ’s righteousness. And also because we are more aware of the sin and the evil nature which is warring in us more than a normal man would. So for these reasons we would feel sorry and compassionate for a man who is at fault. I always try to defend others when people try to blame others because it could be very true that we who blame could be at fault for the same thing or something worse. and I know that I myself am at fault in many areas. I am glad that I am able to feel for others … There are times when I feel angry at people too when they are fault and especially towards me, well, I should find the grace for forgive such people too!!


  5. While I agree with your sentiments Mike, it is also true that God has set up all governments to rule over people and enforce their laws consistently, lest society run amok. As a juror it is important to remember that we must be certain that our “compassion” (aka ‘feelings’) doesn’t override our duty to uphold the law. This means the balance is finding an appropriate punishment for the crime, instead of either extreme which would be incorrect and unChristian (harsh punishment beyond comparison to the crime, or excusing the crime by letting the criminal go without proper punishment/consequence).

    Christ was never unjust and our salvation was not an example of compassion overriding justice – God was both just, in that He meted out the wrath our sins demanded, but He was also able to justify the unrighteous (us) by meting out that wrath on another (His Son). Thus justice was served yet also His great love was demonstrated.

    It is key to remember that there is a difference between spiritual consequences and real-world physical consequences in that there are (and must be) real world consequences for sin that breaks a law set up by a government (lest those laws lose their enforcement value and society crumbles).

    The best example is a murderer since that is a crime still clear-cut in our legal system today. Say God chooses to save a murderer sometime after he commits the crime but before it goes to trial. Does God’s saving grace in the spiritual realm now negate the need for the government (of which you as a juror are a part) to punish the criminal for his physical crime? Not at all. To claim so would be to demand injustice.

    Thanks again for such a helpful blog. I’ve been greatly blessed by your recent posts.


  6. Hi Mike,
    Will be keeping you in prayer. And will keep checking back for your return.
    I did jury duty about 15 years ago, it was a very interesting experience. Take care.



  7. “Does God’s saving grace in the spiritual realm now negate the need for the government (of which you as a juror are a part) to punish the criminal for his physical crime? Not at all. To claim so would be to demand injustice.”

    Excellent point. Now this doesn’t negate mercy if there are factors that lead one to such a conclusion.


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