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Monday, June 20, 2011

Cross-Examination

 17 The first speech in a court case is always convincing—
   until the cross-examination starts! 
(Proverbs 18:17)

I like shows or movies that give you a riveting courtroom trial in which there is little to no hope of the defending attorney ever proving the person on trial really did not do the crime.  In these courtroom depictions, the prosecuting attorney must "make the case" against the "defendant".  The case begins with what they term "opening arguments" - the laying out of the case from each person's perspective in such a way that the jury is given a hint about what will be presented.

The passage today is quite revealing - the opening speeches may all be nicely worded and organized into a nice synopsis of the beliefs of both the prosecutor and the defender, but they don't contain all the "evidence".  That is the purpose of the trial - it "opens up" the intricate pieces of evidence for the jury to examine and use in coming to a conclusion about the outcome of the trial.  Many times, these courtroom scenes depict a pretty certain prosecutor who believes his/her case is rock-solid.  All the witnesses for the prosecution are believed to be exactly what will bring the "conviction" against the defendant.

The next part of our passage presents the real crux of the truth - the "case" against the defendant is really made in the cross-examination of the witnesses.  If the witnesses can have their testimony discredited in some manner, the "case" the attorney might have thought he had can go down the drain pretty quickly.  That is so true about our daily testimony about our profession of faith, as well.  The "making" or "breaking" of that "testimony" is determined in the closeness of "cross-examination".

We stand "on trial" each and every day for evidence that our testimony is "rock solid".  The way we respond when we are wronged to the response we give when we are called on the carpet for less than stellar behavior - all lead to a conclusion about the "solidness" of our testimony.  If our first response is to excuse our behavior (even though it has not been stellar), the testimony we give about Jesus is that our behavior really doesn't matter to him.  If our response when wronged is that we will turn to retaliation (rather than to forgive the offense), we damage the testimony of grace in our own lives.

What does the cross-examination of your life reveal about the "rock-solid" testimony of your life?