Friday, May 18, 2012

Have You Been the Prosecution's Key Witness?

Imagine the scene...

A major courtroom trial. Here comes the good part! The prosecution's key witness, the eye witness, the victim, the accuser herself takes the stand ready to testify against her assailant.She wants justice and she wants to tell her side...gain the sympathy she really deserves. She's up and the courtroom is hushed, eager for the juicy details.

The prosecutor presents the evidence, actual documentation of the assailant's wrong doing, proof in black and white. This evidence will seal the case for the prosecution. He shows it to the witness and she confirms that she did in fact, find the evidence in question and continues her plight with a victim's impact statement. A tale of devastation, of lies, deception, betrayal,  to further convince the judge of how utterly wronged she was and how she deserves justice for this transgression.

The case is done. That evidence seals the deal and the accuser knows it. Just to put the final nail in the coffin, the prosecutor stands to deliver his final closing arguments with much bravado, demanding justice and the most severe punishment the court can hand down. He speaks almost as if he has some sort of grudge against the defendant. As if he wants to see him go down as much as his client does. The accuser sits behind him weeping, wounded, nodding and agreeing with every poisonous arrow the prosecutor can throw. They have worked hand in hand, weaving together this case so seamlessly. He points to the evidence, and there is plenty. "There is no denying the defendant is guilty and deserves to be punished!" the prosecutor hisses before the judge. And the judge looks grieved, knowing what He must do according to the law, pass down a sentence of death.

The accuser looks across the courtroom at her perpetrator. His head is hung low, he knows he's lost. He tried to make things right with his accuser many times, but she would not hear it. Always pointing to the evidence of his guilt and how she was wronged. There was no other recourse than to align herself with a prosecuting attorney, take it before the courts and hang him out to dry. She sighs with delight, thinking about restitution and how good it feels. She then glances at the defense attorney, who is leaned back in his chair, cool as a cucumber, looking as if he hasn't a care in the world. "With the evidence stacked against his client, he should be worried." she smirks to herself.. But he just rolls his eyes at the prosecutor as he blubbers on and on about his client's apparent guilt. "What has he got up his sleeve, she wonders. Who does he think he is anyway? Defending such a dirt bag!" But for some reason, she has the feeling that if she were in trouble and needed a good defense attorney, he'd be a good one.

It's now the defense's turn to speak. It's really a waste of time..the prosecution's case is air tight. All the evidence is there. All the judge has to do is hand down the sentence. The defense attorney looks over at the accuser, the plaintiff, with tenderness in his eyes, as if he understands and knows the depth of her wounds. It makes her feel, if only for a moment, her assailant's sorrow for how he wronged her. She knows he's sorry and she herself feels a bit sorry too for all the bile brought up by the prosecutor. She imagined how degrading it must feel to have to sit through having your sins on display for all to see and scrutinize. But she shakes off those emotions and reminds herself that he deserves it. He was the one who hurt her. How dare he. He should be punished.

The defense attorney stands, with a large book in hand. A very beautiful, snowy white book of an ancient variety. Yet one would never know it by it's pristine condition. The prosecutor begins to squirm in his seat and the plaintiff, the accuser herself, feels the nervousness between them. Without a word, the defense attorney opens to the middle of the book, where the courtroom could plainly see a lot of writing in the deepest red ink, looking much like that of blood. He lays the ancient manuscript before the judge who had just minutes earlier looked grieved at the prospects of having to hand down such a severe sentence. Without a word, he simply points, calling attention to the writing in the book, turns and says, "The defense rests." The judge's posture relaxes and a smile spreads across his face as he pounds down his gavel proclaiming, "The evidence presented before the court by the prosecution is invalid. Case dismissed. The defendant may go free!" The prosecutor jumps out of his seat, arms flailing, curses and obscenities flying because he lost. There was no consolation for his client, whom he seemed to quickly forget. The judge orders him removed from the court room. The  accuser, utterly devastated, so sure of her own justification, felt empty and cold. "How could this be fair?" she pondered.

And the defendant, the crushing heaviness of his impending sentence, lifted off of him so miraculously by whatever was in that glorious book, felt weightless. He sobbed as his head rested on the hand of the defense attorney, who was seated beside him, gently consoling him. The defendant kissed his hand, which seemed to bear a scar of some sort, and thanked him over and over for defending him and setting him free. And the defense attorney's reply? "You accepted my help, so I would die before I let you down."

The End

So, being the astute readers you are, you may recognize the characters in my little story. If you don't, I'll clue you in...

The defendant: You or Me...anyone quite frankly. We've all wronged someone on some level, haven't we?

The accuser/ plaintiff: You or me...anyone actually. We've all been wronged and wanted to run and tell and make that person pay. Right?

The prosecutor: Satan. Always ready and eagerly willing to assist us in hurling our accusations, insinuations, fault findings and slurs at those whom we have perceived to have done us an injustice.

The defense attorney: Jesus Christ. Our forever defender! The glorious, perfect one who stands in the gap with His nail scarred hands and feet, pleading our case to the Father. His blood, conquers all sin and death and justifies us and makes us innocent before the throne of judgement. His blood washes us white as snow, as if we have no sin record at all.

The judge: God. He is perfect in ways we cannot begin to imagine or fathom. He is too good, too wonderful, too perfect, too glorious, too clean and too pure. And he is all light, so there is no darkness in or around him. He cannot tolerate sin and sin cannot be in His presence. Because of that, sin has to be judged and put to death. God ALWAYS enacts justice. He is holy. The Lord God Almighty and vengeance for wrongdoing is His. We have all sinned and come short of His glory. The only remedy for a complete separation from God and death because of our sinfulness is the shedding of innocent blood as a sacrifice for it. And the only perfect life that could've paid for it is Jesus' life. He is perfect and led a perfect, sinless life. His blood was the only worthy and pure enough to be sacrificed on our behalf. When God, the judge sees Jesus blood applied to us, He then sees us as blameless and accepts us into his presence. Why? Because our sins have been washed away by Jesus perfect blood sacrifice and we are made right before holy God. If we have accepted Christ's gift,that is. And when we do accept it, our name is written in that perfect blood in a book called, The Lamb's Book of Life, forever recorded as a child of God.

So question in my title actually mirrors something I asked myself just a few days ago. When have I sided with Satan himself to help prosecute and bring down someone who has done me wrong? Even after they have tried to make things right? What evidence do I have that I keep trying to present to the judge to prove their sin and my justification? I pictured myself, papers in hand, the evidence of their wrongdoing there in black and white, waving them in front of the judge whining, "See, see! See what they did! See what they did to me! See how hurt I am? What are you going to do about this?" Then I realized I sounded like the accuser himself...Satan! The one who is always in front of the judge clamoring on about how sinful we are. Ick! What a thought! Siding with the enemy to do to someone else, the very vile thing he does to me!

And I thought I was so spiritual. I thought I was on Jesus' side. But Jesus is a defender...always. And if I'm striving to be more like Him, shouldn't I be striving to defend others more? Even if they have...gasp...wronged me? And who am I to throw out my accusations to the judge about someone else's wrong doings, as if I'm perfectly innocent. I have wronged many...and I know it. And the truth is, Jesus defends me too. That's why I love something my pastor, Pete Hise says, "You don't want fair." Sure, in our limited minds, we want restitution and justice. We want what's fair. They should pay! But if they got what was coming to them, then we should get what's coming to us. For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23). I don't want fair, because I don't want what I deserve...which is death. Jesus offers me the very same gift of forgiveness, throwing fair out the window. The bottom line is, He's God, He can do whatever He wants and forgive whomever He wants if they ask. I'm not gonna argue, because I'm the benefactor of that decision making, and so are you.

So, after this gentle conviction from the Holy Spirit, I knew what I had to do, because I was willingly playing right into hand of the accuser, Satan.

Someone hurt me, and I had some hard core evidence of their guilt. I was holding on to it for that moment when I was feeling especially self-righteous, so I could wave in their face and proclaim their guilt all over again, even though they've tried their best to make things right with me. Sick and mean, I know.

So, it was an easy decision. I was going to destroy the evidence! I was going to step down as the prosecutions key witness and hand the evidence over to the defense to destroy for good. If all that stands between this person and their freedom is my continued accusations, then I gladly give it up.Unforgiveness is exhausting, stagnant and poisonous. So, I'm done with it. And I feel so much better.

Have you been playing into the hand of the accuser? Are you the prosecution's key witness, ready to jump up and testify for him at every turn...because you feel justified? Remember that someone has stood in the gap for you and calls you to be quick to forgive and stand in the gap for others.

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