Should a Christian Serve on a Jury (Matthew 7:1)?

The Bible teaches that Christians should not involve themselves in judging others (Matthew 7:1). God's people ought to decide matters within the church (I Corinthians 6:1-5), but they should not sit in judgment of those outside the church (I Corinthians 5:12-13). Notice that on one occasion even Jesus refused to make a judgment when asked to settle a dispute over an inheritance (Luke 12:13-14).

Those who are converted to God's way of life are called ambassadors for Christ (II Corinthians 5:20). Paul writes that our "citizenship is in heaven" (Philippians 3:20). As ambassadors and citizens of the Kingdom of God, true Christians must not be a part of the affairs of this world (Revelation 18:4).

Man's judgments are mainly concerned with the letter of the law and usually do not take into account repentance and other spiritual factors. In contrast, God looks on one's heart and is concerned with the spirit and intent of the law. Jesus taught that Christians must be willing to forgive others (Matthew 6:14-15).

The Constitution of the United States establishes and protects each person's rights to his religious beliefs. Those whose deeply held religious convictions do not allow them to serve on a jury will usually be excused once they make their belief known to the proper officials. Sometimes, simply writing "My religious convictions prevent me from service, and, therefore, I request to be excused" on the jury duty notice is all that is necessary. Also attaching a short statement giving the biblical reasons for one's convictions is a good idea. Of course, the form should be returned within the specified time.

At other times, one must answer the summons and appear at the courthouse. If one is called to serve on a jury, questions from the judge and the respective lawyers will usually serve to remove a Christian from the jury pool, as the lawyers often see Christian values as harmful to their cases' ultimate success. Once a judge sees that a Christian will not be persuaded from his refusal to sit in judgment, he will often excuse the Christian himself to avoid later problems, such as a hung jury.

The key to refusing jury duty is standing by one's convictions (Psalm 16:8; 55:22; 62:6; Proverbs 12:3; I Corinthians 16:13: II Thessalonians 2:15; etc.).


 



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