The scales are unbalanced from the onset. One look at the jurors’ faces convinces her of that. The courtroom is crowded with angry, vengeful, spectators. In her anxiety, it takes a while to recognize that everyone, excluding herself, is male.
Caught engaging in the most heinous crime a woman can, her fear of the consequences nauseate and repel her simultaneously. At the very least, she will wear a scarlet ‘A’ for the remainder of her days. She fears the angry mob will demand nothing less than her life.
Helplessly, she understands there is nothing she can say in her defense. With forewarning, she might possibly have fled the scene of her crime. No opportunity for escape presented itself. Caught, arrested, and brought forth to face her accusers, she waits, fearfully, for sentencing.
Will the judge be fair? Would the words of her counsel persuade him to go easy? On the other hand, will he share in the disposition of the jury and spectators? Will her life end this day?
Her chances for acquittal are slim. Neither being coerced, misled, or blackmailed she willingly engaged in her crime. Therefore, her life rests in the defense of her court appointed attorney.
A sudden hush fills the room as the white robed judge enters. By the look of awe on everyone’s face, she realizes she is in the presence of greatness. Her fear escalates one hundredfold, especially since the absence of her attorney is conspicuously obvious.
“All rise”. Once the judge sits, the proceedings begin. The prosecuting attorney, all fired up, is ready to tear her to shreds. The facts he has gathered pointing towards her guilt has him prematurely feeling victorious. The non-presence of her lawyer seems to further prove her guilt.
She looks no different from you or me. In fact, she could be. She sits quietly, conservatively dressed, devoid of makeup; except for the concealer used in the vain attempt at hiding the stress lines on her face.
Witness after witness testify to her guilt. As she listens, she feels her lifeblood draining out of her. Everything said is true. How, in God’s name, can she hope she will escape?
Finally, the prosecution rests. Is the defense ready to present its case? “What case? It is ALL true,” she thinks. One man rises from the onlookers, making his way to the bench. This is her counsel? As he reaches the front of the courtroom, he respectfully addresses the judge. “Your Honor, I have only one witness. Will the accused please take the stand?”
Stunned, she rises and walks bemusedly to the witness stand. Sworn in, she sits. She has yet to look upon the face of her defense attorney. Fear has possessed her and robbed her of all reason.
He speaks. Is she guilty of the crime? “Yes, dear God, I am”, she says with tears streaming. Counsel then states it has no more witnesses and rests. Dejectedly, she returns to her table.
Summation begins. Fire and brimstone allegations come spewing out of the prosecution’s mouth. Once finished, there is little doubt in her mind that anything her counsel will say can convince this court to be lenient.
She at last looks at her judge. His face is kind, and is that a look of compassion? Counsel approaches the jury box. His words are softly spoken yet audible to all.
“The prosecution has proven its case. A woman sits before you who has confessed to her crime. As you decide her fate, let me say, to him who has no sin; let him be the one to decide life or death.”
Utter quiet permeates the courtroom. No one moves. One by one, the jurors’ faces change from fury to shame. The foreman rises and says, “Your Honor, we have reached a verdict.”
Her judge instructs her to rise. As she faces those who have decided her fate, she trembles uncontrollably.
As one voice, the twelve members pronounce the words she never expected to hear. “Not guilty.” Spinning her head towards counsel, she sees him for the first time. Confronted with a look of total acceptance and unconditional love, she is totally overcome.
In disbelief she witnesses the merging of her judge and advocate into One. The rest of the courtroom has mysteriously vanished. She then realizes she is in the presence of Spirit rather than Man but who are also both.
A question echoes from the stillness.
“Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?”
A look of joy radiates from her face now. She answers, “No Sir, no one.”
Her Savior responds, “Neither do I. Go on your way, and do not let me see you here again.”
She leaves the courtroom forever changed. From that day forward she lives a life free from guilt and condemnation. The trial that should have resulted in her death brought life instead.
© Kathi Toups October 23, 2001 [email protected] Used by permission