Derek on jury duty pt2: "Do Not Sue"

"But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well."

As I sat down for jury duty, the first thing I wanted to know was what type of trial I was going to be a juror for. Will it be for some crazy murder trial or coffee spilling on someone's lap? I found out it was a civil case, with someone rear ending another and the person who got hit is suing for LOTS of money. As I heard the details of the whole case, I was struggling with this passage the whole time. What am I supposed to do as a bible-believing follower of Christ?

After studying this scripture in class, my prof gives a compelling case that these scriptures are an exaggeration, and we never intended for us to take literally. Now, I fundamentally disagreed, because I believe that there is application from these words of Jesus. I know that actually doing these things are difficult, dare I say impossible?

Regardless if one believes the sermon on the mount hyperbole (as my prof does), or it's guidelines for right living... I struggled.

We are called as followers of Christ to be instruments of grace. Why? Because we are recipients of grace, and it is entirely unmerited. So who are we to now stand on a position of judgment and demand retribution?

I am naive. In my heart, I wanted a Disney movie finish were there is singing a song together and everyone loves each other by the end of the trial. I know people were hurt, doctor bills added up, cars were wrecked. But can't we all just get along?

As I sat and heard the case, i became increasingly aware that what I was wanting was a personal preference, not a scriptural conviction.

As I slowly was able to put down my own desire for the court to turn into some Disney movie and for everyone to burst into song, I started to see that in this particular case, it was no longer about who was right or wrong, it was clearly all about the person getting hit now greedily trying to steal money from the person who hit him.

it was plain extortion and greed.

As the case proceeded i was increasingly angry at the plaintiff because he obviously wanted money and did not have a compelling argument to demand the money he was trying to extract from the person who hit him. It was then not about reconciliation but about preventing this person from taking advantage of another. Now the point of this is that Christians tend to just forgive and try to gush love. However there are times when we as Christians need to take a firm stand to protect the innocent.

Now, I'm treading on very thin ice here. If you really think about this scripture (turning the other cheek), how you respond to it will dictate how you view vengeance? anyways, for more on the outcome of the case, that will be in a later part. But let's park on this concept of vengeance.

Scripture states that vengeance belongs to the Lord, and Him alone. Him alone. This is why I don't see how people can scripturally defend war for oil...

In the end, I made a decision that was to protect the innocent from being exploited. There was a just response to the situation and I fought for it. I didn't do it because I was a pastor and I needed to show people Jesus. I choose to protect the innocent because i could not stand by and feign Christian love while one person is obviously being taken advantage of.

after 2 days of trial, just before the jury were allowed to talk about the case, i prayed. i remember that my specific prayer would be that justice would be done. what was amazing was that as the jury began to deliberate, i found that i was on common ground with the other jurors and we eventually came to a decision to protect the person being sued.

the details of the case aren't important, but want i wanted to share was i truly gained insight into tension between not suing, forgiving, and being a voice for the voiceless, and standing for what was right.

it was a small battle, but i felt that the lesson learned from it was worth the days in court.


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