From The Rectory

As I wrote last month, much of my time in January was taken up, by serving on a Jury, and although I am prohibited from speaking in detail about the case I served on, it does form the foundation of this month’s reflection.

I guess there was a degree of inevitability, that if the case made it to the point of Jury deliberations that I would be a potential to be the Jury Foreman.  It was a role I dutifully accepted, and yet I did not realise how responsible I would feel for the judgement that was decided on in that Jury room. 

If we found the defendant guilty, then a person’s life was about to change forever, as they bore the consequences of potentially one moment of poor judgement.  Unlike courtroom dramas on the television, where the truth is revealed to you along with the reason and motive, in British law the jury can only respond to the evidence in front of them, and the direction of the judge on points of law.

Although the decision made in that Jury room was not made by me alone, but the consensus of twelve jurors, I still felt the responsibility as I am the one who had to stand and pronounce our verdict to the judge and court room.

In Matthew 7, Jesus says;

‘Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way as you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

Were my actions in the court in contradiction to my faith?  I guess the only solace I can take on that point, is the second part of that verse, which paraphrased states, ‘as in the manner that you choose to judge others, so will you be judged’.  If the shoe was on the other foot, and I had been in the dock, would I be happy and content with the manner in which the Jury responded to the evidence before them?

But moving away from the court room, it occurs to me that on a daily basis we all make judgements and decisions that impact on those around us.  For the majority of us those actions won’t land us in the dock, but they there are knock on consequences to those around us and the relationships we have.

St James wrote:

19 My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20 because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. (James 1v19-20)

May each one of us, become more conscious of our words and actions and the implications of them on those around us.


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