Owning Up to Our Mistakes
Unlike my first experience with jury duty, I felt less irritation towards my second one for two reasons. First, it was for the Ashland Municipal Court so my drive time was less than ten minutes (instead of an hour), and second, I have less responsibilities at my job (I cut back on hours and responsibilities in order to write my master’s thesis) so I would not be walking into a mess when I returned to work. There is something to be said about municipal court. They tend to work on a smaller scale, possibly dealing with less cases than other courts, so they run more efficiently. I was impressed with the employees that work at our courthouse.
I arrived at 8:30am, thinking it was going to be a long day. However, myself and twenty-four other people soon learned that our time to serve was going to be very brief. At 9:15am, we were taken into the courtroom so we could watch the mandatory twenty minute video explaining what jury service entails and what is expected of us. We barely watched five minutes of the video when the judge and the bailiff came in. The judge told us after several months of arraignment and pre-trial hearings the defendant, who maintained his innocence and wanted a jury trial, decided to plead guilty. We were there a grand total of an hour.
Some were relieved they did not have to sit on the jury, while others were irritated that they had to miss a day of work. All I could think about was the defendant. After months of maintaining his innocence, he caved very quickly. Some say this happens simply by knowing that the jury is present. This was not the case for my first jury duty experience. That woman wanted her day in court. Sometimes this causes the individual to reconsider and they take the plea deal offered to them.
The judge told us this is a rare occurrence, happening maybe twice a year. So, it made me wonder why this particular man would choose to change his plea. Some would say it is fear. I hope it is that his conscious spoke to him, that he would own up to his mistake and accept the punishment. As human beings, we are flawed and we will make mistakes. Some of those mistakes will be severe enough to be punishable by the law. In an ideal world, everyone would own up to their mistakes.
Unfortunately, we live in our world where we like to play the “blame game.” It is easier to place the blame on somebody else than accepting the responsibility for it. Throughout the Gospels there is a very clear theme of repentance. Luke 13:3 says “unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” Repenting for sins is a MUST for Christians. We cannot sin and not take responsibility for them. If we do this, then we will not inherit the Kingdom of God.
As human beings, we will make many mistakes during our lifetimes and as long as we own up to them we will learn to become our best selves. Luke 15:7 says, “I tell you, in just the same way there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who have no need of repentance.” It is okay to make mistakes because it is how we learn. We have to sometimes fail in order to succeed. This allows us to grow as human beings. Taking responsibility for your actions will help you to become a better person.
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