The 12 People Inside My Head
By Fin Sheridan
In the UK, different courts require different amount of people to make up the jury. The Crown Court, needs 12 at the start of the trial as does the High Court. A County Court only needs 8 and a Coroner’s Court needs between 7 and 11. In the court inside my head, however, there are definitely 12.
Whether you realise it or not, you’ve probably got a jury in your head too. A jury that you have to try and win over, a jury you’re presenting to constantly, a jury you need to convince.
‘Justice’, ‘Jury’ and ‘Judge’ all come from the same root word: “iustitia” which is the 12th century Latin word for “upright, true, proper, or righteous”. And that’s what we’re all trying to be isn’t it? Whether it’s winning an argument with our spouse or believing that God loves us, it’s all about a validation of “being right”. We like right. We don’t like wrong.
“We want to be declared innocent, we want to be justified. We want someone to say that we’re right.”
Your jury might be made up of all sorts of people: parents, spouses, teachers, relatives, pastors, employers, employees, even strangers. There is an ache in us that longs to be justified, the same ache that humanity has felt since Genesis 3. We want to be declared innocent, we want to be justified. We want someone to say that we’re right.
This thirst can cripple us; it seeps into our identity and festers in our relationships. When we need validation from people, we aren’t free to love them. When we need them to affirm that we’re right, we don’t show them the parts where we’re wrong. Ashamed, we hide, grasping at leaves and presenting them like certificates to distract from our nakedness.
We have to stop trying to impress the jury with our good ideas, good intentions and even good actions. In fact, we have to leave the mental courtroom all together! There’s no need for us to constantly keep providing evidence, little snippets that might help win our case. The Judge has offered his own Son in our place. We’re declared innocent, as if we’d never been wrong. We’re justified.