Today I have a sentencing hearing following a guilty plea. I will go with a client as an advocate for their freedom. I have gotten to know the client and believe in what I will be presenting to the court. I lost sleep last night due to the anticipation of the hearing. What I am remembering this morning is that I am an advocate today, not the accused and not the judge.
The circumstances are not mine to own as my own. I would be inappropriate in identifying too closely with the consequences of this situation. It was not my situation, I was simply invited in as an attorney and counselor at law. The consequences flow from decisions made before I met any of the parties involved.
I also cannot control the outcome. The judge gets the final decision. I am not the judge and it would be wrong for my opinions to be so strong that I might be offended should the judge disagree with my arguments. The outcome is not solely a reflection on my efforts, but based on the judge’s experience and discretion as well as the evidence and argument of the prosecutor.
So while the honor of representing the interests of another person comes with responsibility, it does not come with ownership. When I am able to distinguish between my responsibilities and those of the other people involved in the situation, then Justice and Mercy become clear to see. If I am out-of-order in how I perceive my role, the ownership of what is not mine will lead to clouded vision of the outcome, whatever it may be.
We live in relationships which bring various and sometimes complex dynamics. Stopping to know what we do and don’t own in order to accept those things that are ours but also reject those things that are not ours to carry is critical in freedom and healthy engagement. We are not our children or our spouse and we cannot own everything they say or do. When we do, the reactions we generate from our perceptions will be distorted and out-of-order. At the same time, if we fail to own our own consequences, then we will never be dependable and our growth will be stunted.
I am prepared. Beyond that, it is beyond my control today. I can walk with Peace into the courtroom knowing that I have been equipped for a time and calling such as this. Impact on freedom and lives hang in the balance, but I do not control the scales. Redemption is available for any negative consequences and Mercy willing where there might be Grace. I trust Redemption, Mercy and Grace.