Thursday

My Morning with a Felon

I was preparing to serve on jury duty, and the judge asked if anyone had a reason to be exempted from serving as a juror. There was the usual listing of "I have a newborn baby at home," and "I served nine months ago, do I have to serve again?" type reasons. As the list was winding down, a man stood up in the back of the room full of prospective jurors.

"Is there a reason why you can't serve on jury duty?" the judge asked as every person in the courtroom turned his way. Not quite meeting her eye, he answered her as everyone looked on.


"I am a felon."

This man appeared to be in his late forties. Neat and clean shaven, I would not have picked him out of the lineup if someone had asked me to choose the man who was a felon. I wondered how long ago he had committed the crime that he was forced to acknowledge that day.

Although he didn't seem disappointed when he was later excused from service, I wondered how many other places he had been excluded from because of his felony conviction.   Jobs? Relationships? Volunteer opportunities?

I wondered if he had realized, however many years ago when he was choosing to commit his crime, that his poor decision would dog his steps for the rest of his life?

"Felon."

Then I thought about the righteous Judge of the universe, God Himself, before whom we all will give an account. (Romans 14:12)

And I thought about the verdict that is rightfully mine.
And yours --  

Guilty.

"For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." (Romans 3:23)


Felon.

I thought too, about the precious forgiveness that God grants us when we humbly confess and forsake our sin. (1 John 1:9)

How he removes our sin "as far as the east is from the west to remember (it) no more." (Psalm 103:12)

How we no longer need to be characterized by our past. (1 Corinthians 5 17)

And how Christ has made us free indeed. (John 8:36)

Unlike the man in the courthouse that day, we are no longer limited by our past.

We are forgiven.

We are free.

We can walk out of the courthouse of condemnation into a whole new world of possibilities.  Just because we were formerly characterized by anger, or dishonesty, or foul language, or gossip, fear, or lust, or laziness, or bitterness, we do not have to live that way any more. When we submit ourselves to the God who is powerful enough to save us, we also submit ourselves to the God who is powerful enough to sanctify us. He is able to make us more and more like Christ as we walk each day in the new life he offers.

So much of our victory begins in our minds and with what mental label we characterize ourselves.

Ask yourself today, "Do I live in the shadow of what I used to be, or do I live in light of what Christ can empower me to be?

Are you a felon?

Or are you forgiven and free?

I pray that we will all live our lives as children of God and heirs of the kingdom of light.






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2 comments:

  1. Oh, Lori, I love this! I often think how undeserving I am of God's grace, yet all of us are in the same boat--felons in need of forgiveness. All it takes is one sin, right?

    I found you on Christian Deovtions, and so glad I did!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you, Jeanette, for following my cyber trail. I appreciate your kind words :)

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