This Reflections, Whispered Secrets, was published by The Center for Congregational Ethics for the daily devotional reading based on Luke 11:53-12:3 from the Revised Common Lectionary Year A for June 24, 2023.
Juries and trials are part of the everyday news. Lawyers make their best case, judges guide the process, juries decide. When called up to serve, I mistakenly thought I would be dismissed from jury duty because I was a Baptist minister. During jury selection, the federal judge commented he wanted “a true cross-section of citizens.” I served on one of those secret federal grand juries for 18 consecutive months. We set a record for the most days in session in the Northeastern District of Oklahoma. I learned that whispers in secret can become embarrassingly public and sometimes deadly.
The U.S. Constitution requires that any charge made against someone by federal law enforcement must be reviewed by a jury of their peers. Of the original ten constitutional amendments called The Bill of Rights, Amendments 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8, address juries and trials. All types of federal crime came before us, ranging from simple possession of drugs to corporate fraud, and public corruption to violations of international sanctions. We were serious and pushed back against the prosecutors when we felt they were not making their case. For me, the experience was sad in many ways.
Facing the fear in the eyes of the disciples and the hate in the hearts of the religious leaders, Jesus turns to give a personal word of realism to those nearby: Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. What you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight, and what you have whispered in the ear in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the roofs. This is a word of understanding for the believer and practicing hypocrite alike. Character matters. Truth brings light. Hypocrisy is infectious. Guard your heart.
Darryl S. DeBorde is pastor of the Braden Park Baptist Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma.Share this webpage: