Lisa tried to light up a cigarette while she was on the witness stand in our courthouse.
The sheriff stopped her.
She was there because she had threatened someone, after a night of drinking.
I was there in my role as Court Observer.
Lisa was frustrated , and visibly agitated , because there was no judge in the courtroom.
We cannot afford video conferencing, and so, on days when the judge can’t show up, he telephones the court, and the call is placed on speaker phone.
When Lisa realized that the judge was listening to her, she began her defence.
She told the court that she knew she was a sinner, and that she had a chronic problem with alcohol. She knew that threatening was wrong, and she promised the judge that if he excused her, she would never threaten again.
Then she reminded us that one day we would all stand in front of the judgment seat of God, and that we would all be judged for what we have done, and what we have failed to do.
It was one of the finest ‘sermons’ that I have ever heard.
The judge, moved with mercy, dismissed her case.
Unfortunately, eight weeks later, Lisa was back in court. She had threatened someone again. Addictions are the cause of much criminal behaviour. And, underlying addictive behaviour, is emotional pain that must be recognized and dealt with in a healthy manner.
Our village realized that we were in desperate need of more addiction services. After years of lobbying, we received government funding for a Wellness Centre, which will provide counselling services. The centre hopes to be in operation by this summer, if the pandemic is resolved.
Court will continue once covid restrictions have ended.
I pray that I will not see Lisa there again.
Jesus came, not for the righteous, but to call sinners to repentance.
The Lord came to set the captives free.
(Name has been changed.)
The photo is courtesy of iStock Photos.
We lived in this neighborhood for a while, before moving to a quieter home in a fishing village.