Wednesday, October 15, 2008

October 2008

“Judge not that ye be not judged!” That scripture kept going through my mind as I sat in the courtroom listening to the jury being questioned, briefed and sworn in.

“You have been requested to serve on a jury. Service on a jury is one of the most important responsibilities that you will exercise as a citizen of this Commonwealth. It is your responsibility to listen to the evidence presented at a trial, decide the facts, apply the facts to the law as instructed by the judge, and render a fair and impartial verdict.” “It’s the law!” The sheriff told us.

As I looked at the defendant, I thought of his mother and how disappointed she must be about the choices her son had made. Would that influence me? Looking at the Lawyers I felt angry that they could each ask questions twisted to support their side. Could I do it? Could I be fair, impartial, listen to the facts? Could I make a judgment based solely on the law?

It was a drunk driving case. I come from a state that has the highest incidents of repeat offenders. People are arrested seven, eight, nine times and still driving. People are dying on the streets! Something has to be done! I thought I could. The jury was selected. I was excused. Then I knew that in this case I couldn’t have been impartial. I was grateful and came back the next day for a different trial.
But it was a good learning experience and interesting .

On the other hand, sometimes we are quick and willing to judge those around us. Do they talk funny? Do they dress without style? Have they said something that offends us? In our Hymn book, the hymn “Lord I Would Follow Thee”, tells us,. . .

“Who am I to judge another, When I walk imperfectly.
In the quiet heart is hidden Sorrow that the eye can’t see.
Who am I to judge another, Lord I would follow thee.

I would be my brother’s keeper. I would learn the healer’s art.
To the wounded and the weary, I would show a gentle heart.
I would be my brother’s keeper. Lord I would follow thee”. . . .

As women, we have been given a gentle heart. It’s part of our gender Elder David A. Bednar says, “Gender in large measure defines who we are, why we are here upon the earth, and what we are to do and become.”
I would like to be my brother’s keeper, to heal the wounded and the weary.
My daughter, like her grandmothers, wants to right the worlds wrongs.
I don’t judge them. I appreciate them for following their convictions.

As election time approaches we are thinking more, I hope, about our country and what our expectations and responsibilities are. My challenge this month is threefold.
If you are able, learn and prepare to vote responsibly for your country. Obey the laws, and be merciful to your fellow men.
Have a good month.

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