There was a time when I had an incredibly busy docket of court appointed cases in front of the toughest judge in the city. This judge was always inclined to side with the prosecution and there often wasn’t much of anything that the defense could do other than appeal the verdict. When the dust had settled and the docket was disposed of, I had represented about 20 criminal defendants that morning and not a single of them were found “not guilty.”
At the end of the docket, the courtroom was clear with only the judge, the clerk, the bailiff and myself remaining. The judge looked at me and said, “Mr. Prickett, you did a very good job today.” As bad as the day had gone for my clients, the temptation could have been to believe that it was my fault. With all clients convicted and some in jail, I could have believed that I was a bad lawyer. The judge that heard case after case, however, seemed sincere in telling me that I was not.
You see, they all did “it.” They had broken the law and were caught with sufficient evidence to prove it, probably no matter who the judge was. With this particular judge, it wasn’t even close. What I had done was effectively advocate their best interests and ensure due process in the hearing of fact related to their alleged violation of the law. I wasn’t there to save them, I was their to represent them. They still got to be them and deal with the consequences of their choices.
When we become followers of Jesus Christ, we do so because we realize and accept His salvation. We are then commissioned as ministers and advocates to share His life in us with others. We get to share the Good News of Jesus by our testimonies and life story through relationship. Sometimes, He will speak through our lives to call others into His grace. Sometimes, however, that doesn’t happen. In fact, there are times that we may be rejected because of Him.
We can’t save anybody, we can only represent Jesus by allowing Jesus a place in us. We are neither effective nor ineffective ministers based on the reaction of others. If they say “yes” to Jesus, we didn’t save them. In the same way, if they say “no” it’s not our fault. If we’re afraid to stand in the place we have been afforded as advocates and ministers, however, that’s a different story.