Saturday, July 9, 2011

The Thirteenth Juror

I know a lot of people have been following the Casey Anthony trial.  Even days after the verdict, the buzz is still there. People are crying out because they feel justice was not served.  I have mixed emotions about the outcome.  I am confused.  I am outraged that an innocent life was cut short, and we do not know if it was murder or an accident.  More questions remain than the trial answered...and we need those answers to resolve this in our hearts.

 This trial has exposed deep anger and a lack of compassion that exists in our society.  Death threats have been issued for the judge, jurors,  Ms. Anthony and her parents.  I have seen facebook postings and heard quotes from the media saying that Ms. Anthony will spend eternity in hell for her actions.  We as a society have convicted her of 1st degree murder, even though a jury of 12 people unanimously said that sufficient evidence was not there to convict her.  In a way, public opinion plays the role of the 13th juror--because it is the public that will determine in a large way of how her life will be from this point forward.  We were outraged that a child's death was not avenged--and now we are taking it out by being as hateful as we possibly can towards her.

In that aspect, I truly feel sorry for her.  I know she is a self-proclaimed liar.  She was proven to be a party girl.  It is proven that in Ms. Anthony's short life so far she has made many mistakes that were life altering. It seems that she came from a dysfunctional family, and has continued the cycle that her parents passed along to her through their example.  She has been used and thrown away to live with those consequences alone.  When I look at her, I hope I see her as Jesus saw her--a sinner who is just doing what sinners do best, a sinner who needs help--and her only hope is Jesus.

I believe that everything happens for a reason and that God is in control of everything--even the Casey Anthony trial.  She received a second chance from the jury--just like we have received a second chance when we received Christ as our Savior.  The Bible tells us that we should not judge others, unless we want to be judged on those same standards.  Jesus said that we should cast stones only if we are sinless, when he was facing a mob ready to stone a woman who was caught red handed in adultery.  Although he was sinless, He even chose not to pick the stones and hurl them at her  (and He was the only one there with the qualifications to do so, but he didn't).  Jesus met people with grace and mercy--even though their actions cried out for punishment and condemnation.  Maybe, we should try to reach out to others the way Jesus did--and if we do, maybe we will see a miracle--a lost sinful soul accept Jesus.  That is the transaction that can turn lives around.

Instead, so many Christians have lashed out in hate and judgement, maybe we should hit our knees for a moment and pray that this young lady will somehow be led to Christ and that she would allow him to transform her life.  After all, transforming lives is what Jesus does best, and I am living proof of that.

I think that the outcome of this trial exposed a weakness that many Christians have in their lives--the ability to forgive and offer mercy to someone who does not deserve it.  We forget that we were once offered mercy when we least expected it, and because of that, God expects the same of us when we experience a sinner with that same, desperate need.  We encounter these people all of the time.  The world is filled with fallen people, who are without hope and need Jesus and a little of his mercy and grace in their lives.  How will you react the next time you encounter them?

You are the 13th juror--what are you going to choose to do?  How will you react.  Will you offer mercy and grace or condemnation....the choice is yours, so choose wisely.


Anonymous said...

In our angry society fed by a media who looks to anger others by making sensationalism to promote their ratings, I truly believe everyone needs to read this. Every pastor needs to preach this and our society needs to get back to looking to God for answers. Thank you for writing this.

Jennifer Meyers said...

Thanks for your comment. I just try to think what would bring honor to God in my writing and how I relate to others. Unfortunately, I fall short the majority of the time.

So many times, things happen and our emotions can get fed into a frenzy, and a mob mentality results. One thing that I notice about Jesus is that He is never reactive--but proactive. All of his words and actions were used to bring repentance or healing into the lives of others. As Christians--that is what we are called to do. I think we should hit our knees and pray when we do not understand what is going on around us, instead of condemning others. That way, God can lead us to do what we should, instead of relying on our sinful nature to lead the way.