I have not been in court for awhile.
Before the pandemic, I regularly attended criminal court in our historic courthouse as a volunteer court observer. I prayed silently for the judge, the lawyers, and the people who have gotten themselves in trouble with the law.
The causes of criminal behaviour are common everywhere: poverty, and society’s lack of care or understanding of human needs, emotions, and motivations. And of course, there is the underlying issue of human sin.
In our town, as in many places, alcoholism and substance abuse play a large part in criminal behaviour.
‘Charlene’ is a regular in court because she threatens people when she has been drinking and loses her social inhibitions.
‘Steve’ is a regular too. On his last time in court he was found guilty of stealing from the liquor store.
‘George’ is waiting sentencing after his 5th DUI conviction.
‘Gloria’ spends her money on substances, and, while hungry, broke into a local establishment to get food. (Our local food bank is usually almost empty).
Rehabilitation services are greatly needed on our island, as they are almost everywhere.
Although Western Society considers alcoholism as a disease, there are world religions which consider alcohol consumption to be SIN.
Because I see so many people who cause trouble for themselves and others, through consuming alcohol, I choose not to drink it. Of course, I respect the decision of those who choose to drink.
I keep coming to court to observe and to pray, because I know that through the power of the Holy Spirit, people can change their behaviours.
Jesus said that he came not for the righteous, but he came to call sinners to repentance. ( Luke 5:32)
I have witnessed the joy of people who have conquered their addictions, and changed their lives for the better. Jesus is in the business of turning Sinners into Saints.
Pictured is our historic courthouse.
*names have been changed