Friday, April 6, 2012


I entered the court building feeling out of place.  I did not belong there, among the smelly, poorly dressed, tattooed, repeat offenders.  In my suit, head held high, I submitted to the friendly deputy that scanned my purse and had me walk through the body scanner.  He barely looked, though, before waving me on with a smile, to another deputy who glanced at me and asked, "Traffic court?"  Obviously.

I sat down in the courtroom feeling wronged on so many accounts.  Here I was, a MINISTER, for goodness sake, spending Good Friday in a courtroom full of hooligans, when I had so many more important things to do. So I sat in my smugness, listening to tales of custody battles, parole hearings, skipping bond, and all manner of egregious sins.  And me?  I had simply had the misfortune of being caught unintentionally speeding while driving my sick baby girl to the doctor for breathing issues.  It was a medical emergency, for Pete's sake.

I kept stealing glances at the officer who had charged me, imagining how she would feel when I shared my story, complete with doctor's report and a copy of the steroid prescription.  Perhaps she couldn't understand, though, maybe she wasn't a mother.  The judge, however, was a kind older lady, who shared with one of the felons how her own kids meant the world to her and she could understand his drive to break the law in order to make sure his kids were safe and well.  It was all in the bag, I thought.  I even reflected on how I had her exact robe hanging in my closet, as judicial robes are cheaper than preaching robes.

That qualifies me to be an excellent judge, right?  Oh boy.

So my name is called, and all my confidence fades.  I am one of them.  I stand accused, and when the judge asks for my plea, I whisper, "Guilty" with trembling lips, eyes on the verge of tears.  Here, I've been judging those around me, and now it is my turn to stand in judgment.  My excuses aside, I broke the law, and when the judge pulled out my record, I knew I was in trouble.  You see, I'm a repeat offender.  I deserve punishment, and in humility, I received it.

Good Friday is an appropriate (yet unfortunate) time for this lesson on judgment.  It is easy for me to stand aside and look down upon those that haven't been blessed with the resources I have.  It is my sinful pride that makes me believe that I deserve more grace, more of the blessings I have simply because I have them.  I am a sinner, and probably in worse condition than those I stood in judgment of because I thought for a moment that I was somehow better than them.

Lord Jesus, have mercy on me.

Jesus had a trial, too, and he, though innocent, he bore the judgment of my sin.  His sentence was death.  His gift to me is life, grace, and forgiveness.  Thanks be to Christ.

Isaiah 53

 1 Who has believed our message
   and to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?
2 He grew up before him like a tender shoot,
   and like a root out of dry ground.
He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him,
   nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.
3 He was despised and rejected by mankind,
   a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.
Like one from whom people hide their faces
   he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.
 4 Surely he took up our pain
   and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God,
   stricken by him, and afflicted.
5 But he was pierced for our transgressions,
   he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
   and by his wounds we are healed.
6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
   each of us has turned to our own way;
and the LORD has laid on him
   the iniquity of us all.
 7 He was oppressed and afflicted,
   yet he did not open his mouth;
he was led like a lamb to the slaughter,
   and as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
   so he did not open his mouth.
8 By oppression and judgment he was taken away.
   Yet who of his generation protested?
For he was cut off from the land of the living;
   for the transgression of my people he was punished.
9 He was assigned a grave with the wicked,
   and with the rich in his death,
though he had done no violence,
   nor was any deceit in his mouth.
 10 Yet it was the LORD’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer,
   and though the LORD makes his life an offering for sin,
he will see his offspring and prolong his days,
   and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand.
11 After he has suffered,
   he will see the light of life and be satisfied;
by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many,
   and he will bear their iniquities.
12 Therefore I will give him a portion among the great,
   and he will divide the spoils with the strong,
because he poured out his life unto death,
   and was numbered with the transgressors.
For he bore the sin of many,
   and made intercession for the transgressors.

1 comment:

  1. thank you for your open candid heart, friend. i saw myself there in that courtroom. a fellow repeat offender.