December 9, 2016 Brethren Letter
Previously I’ve addressed this subject, but it might be a good review to look at the subject of “jury duty” again. Probably, most of us have received, or will receive a jury summons at some point. I have, three different times. In the past, the state of Florida formed jury pools that were randomly selected from the state’s voter registration rolls. Today, the names are selected from the state’s driver’s license records.
According to the laws in Florida, a summoned individual cannot just write a simple note to the court asking to be excused from duty, even if it is based on personal religious convictions. Only a judge has the authority in our county to excuse a potential juror, meeting face to face with the judge. Failure to appear, could actually put a person in contempt of court.
In the three times my name was selected, I ended up being excused without having to stand before a judge to explain my religious convictions, and why I could not serve as a juror. Brethren, even though I have not had to explain anything in a court of law, I would willingly do so. All of us must truly love what we believe scripturally, and have those beliefs firmly in mind without wavering!
What about the subject of jury duty? What are some of the reasons Christians do not serve in this capacity?
In the book of Philippians 3:20, Christians (who are under the authority of Jesus Christ), are viewed as having a “citizenship” in heaven. “For our citizenship is in heaven; whence also we wait for a Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:” (God’s Word Translation). Biblically, we are called Ambassadors for Christ. “Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.” (II Corinthians 5:20). As Ambassadors for Christ and citizens of the Kingdom of God, we should not be involved in this world’s judgments and affairs (See Revelation 18:4).
In Hebrews 11, we see that those brethren who have lived before us also realized where their spiritual citizenship was, that it was not on this earth. “These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth” (Hebrews 11:13).
As members of God’s Church (Christians), we are not to be involved with judging according to man’s laws. “Judge not, that ye be not judged” (Matthew 7:1). Even Jesus Christ refused to judge in a certain dispute involved in the “world,” concerning an inheritance. “And one of the company said unto him, Master, speak to my brother, that he divide the inheritance with me. And he said unto him, ‘Man, who made me a judge or a divider over you?’” (Luke 12:13-14).
Finally, while we realize that there is a responsibility in God’s Church to decide matters within the Church (I Corinthians 6:1-5), outside of God’s Church is a whole different matter as shown by the apostle Paul in I Corinthians 5:12. “For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? [outside of the Church of God] do not ye judge them that are within? But them that are without God judgeth…”
Remember brethren, if you receive a jury duty summons in your mailbox, I have written information on this subject that I will gladly send to you at any time.
Please have a wonderful Sabbath!
Your Brother in Christ,