Peace family, have you ever served on a jury?
I ended up serving on one throughout this week for a criminal case, and I wanted to encourage you that you really are doing an important service. We all know that everyone is supposed to hate jury duty, but I actually really enjoyed it both times that I have served, even though it did take a lot of mental and emotional energy. Not only did the court provide a lot of things that made us feel special, like cookies and Dr Pepper (my favorite), but it’s truly a special privilege. For a few days, maybe even a few weeks in a very high-profile case, you are donating your time to help bring justice into someone’s life, whether to the defendant or to the plaintiff. They wouldn’t be here if something hadn’t gone horribly wrong, whether an act committed or a false accusation. You are hearing the story of someone who needs to be heard. You also get to hear investigatory or scientific methods from experts whom you might not meet in everyday life. You get to look at the evidence as the attorneys lay it out before you. You even get to think about psychology, why certain people speak or act in a certain way, and why the lawyers try to draw your attention to certain facts but away from others. It’s much more complicated than court in movies or on television, and in my experience, the details have never been fast, neat or tidy. There’s isn’t always video footage, or DNA evidence, and there are often reasons to doubt the credibility of certain witnesses, even people who seem like “the good guys.”
A lot of attention and thought goes into it when you serve on a jury. You have a burden to bear, and you have to listen to both sides with an open mind, in sometimes very difficult circumstances, but for some reason, God has placed you into that spot of authority. You, as a believer, have the privilege of praying for everyone affected in the case, and access to the Holy Spirit. Although the decisions you make will affect people’s lives, you have at least eleven new friends to help you come to a reasonable conclusion.
I guess I say all of this, Peace Family, to encourage you, the next time that you receive a jury summons, that you never know what greater purpose you might be serving. Take a book, some paperwork, or a craft project to your summons so that you don’t feel like you are wasting your time (I took the Christmas stocking I’ve been making) and be a willing tool, that God might use for his greater glory. You might never know, but your prayers from there in the jury box might make a huge difference in someone’s life.