It felt like a scene from Matlock. With beautiful candor and compossed passion the lawyer started his summation to the judge. "It just doesn't feel right, from the pit of my stomach this man should not spend any more time in prison." The lawyer went on for about 20 minutes portraying the injustice beng doled out to this man.
This man that functions at a 5-6 grade learning level, a man convicted of a sexual offense against a child many years before. He was sitting there shackeled in an orange jump suit listening intentally as the judge was about to deliver the verdict on the probation violations. He was 2 months away from successfully completing probation, but two minor infractions is what stood between him and 6 years of prison time.
As the moment stood still for a second while the judge pondered what to do, the other prisoners looked on in distain. Previously they had not known what this man had done, now that they knew he was a child molester the anger burned in their eyes. Later on they would threaten and tell him what was going to happen if he stayed in general prison population.
The verdict came- due to his missing a polygraph test, and going to a car wash he was going to have a 2 year sentence. Within the laws of Indiana he will be required to spend one year in prison with good behaivor. Since he had already served three months in the county jail he will be required to serve 9 months more.
As I questioned and wrestled through my thoughts yesterday- many different angles of this story played in my mind.
Half way through the lawyers summation he motioned to a few of us sitting in the court room. These people are this man's support system. "Ben Polhemus a pastor is willing to vouch for him."
In those brief seconds in the court room, I am being associated by name with a child molester. Here in front of people I was being identified as someone who is willing to stand up for him.
Is this how Peter felt when he was accused of knowing and following Jesus? For a brief second I wanted to leave the courtroom and say no I am a respectable person don't associate me with this man.
I have no idea who I am suppose to advocate for, or stand in the gap for on a regular basis but I do know I was to be there yesterday sitting in the courtroom for a man, most in society like the those other prisoners look on in distain.
I am not advocating what he did in his past.
As I was thinking about this yesterday the passage in Hebrews came to mind of Jesus sitting in God's presence advocating on our behalf. Even though He knows our hearts, our actions, and our motives he is advocating for us.
How easy it is for me to only want to advocate for those I know are going to be perfect in the future. How I am not willing to take the risk and want the sure thing. At the end of the day I want to be standing with the winners and not the losers.
It is hard to be like Jesus- when he was being accused of being friends of sinners. Could we be accused of that? Not a person that engages in that type of behaivor but rather someone that is with them.
I have been asked multiple times over the last month the same basic question- "hey you know poor people, is there anyone you know that I can help?
I take that as some sort of compliment, but it is a little frustrating, because we can all know people that are hurting and are poor in all different ways.
The question is who are we going to be accused of knowing?