I would like to know how does a christian avoid having to serve on jury duty? I have been called to appear in court, but in my heart I do not want to do this. When I became born-again, I left the secular world behind. I chose to serve our Lord Jesus Christ. I know that I am in this world but I am not of this world. There seems to be some scripture that can support christians not having to serve. I have compiled a small list below, but I'm sure you would be able to find more. Can I use scripture to excuse myself from ever having to be called to serve on jury duty?
I have prayed to the Lord to get me out of this. Perhaps He can make it so that my number doesn't come up.
I will only take advice from my brothers and sister in Christ—so thats why I am writing to you.
• (Matthew 7:1) Judge not, that you be not judged.
• (John 8: 7) And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.
• (Romans 2: 1) Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things.
I don’t think that a Christian can reasonably and scripturally try to get out of jury duty, other than moving to another country. We have a responsibility to the secular government under which we live.
Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God's ministers, attending continually upon this very thing. Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour. (Romans 13:1-7)
Paul says that the government is established in order to bring wrongdoers to justice. Therefore, a Christian, more than anyone else, should be willing to serve on a jury, for by doing so they are doing God’s work.
Jesus also pointed out our responsibility to the government. “Tell us therefore, What thinkest thou? Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not? But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, Why tempt ye me, [ye] hypocrites? Shew me the tribute money. And they brought unto him a penny. And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription? They say unto him, Caesar's. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's.” (Matthew 22:17-21) I think it is significant that this event is also recorded by Mark and Luke. That tells me that God thought it important enough a message to emphasize. If we are to pay taxes, we also owe other duties to the government, such as jury duty.
Lest it look like I am saying the Bible contradicts itself, I will also look at the passages you mentioned. I don’t think that they preclude jury duty.
People make a mistake of quoting Matthew 7:1 without finishing the sentence. “Judge not, that ye be not judged, For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.” The prohibition is not against all judging, but a reminder that we must judge fairly if we expect God to judge us fairly.
The situation in John 8 was that some men claimed to have caught a woman in adultery, but brought only her and not the man as well. Jesus knew they were doing this to test him. It was the practice that the principal accusers were the first to cast stones. That emphasized the responsibility to testify rightly, because if you testified falsely and then cast the first stones (which often killed the accused) you were guilty also of murder. Essentially he is saying, “You all know that you yourselves are sinning by bringing only the woman to me. You are being unfair in your judgement in order to test me. If one of you is truly a witness to this woman’s sin and not doing this for another reason, you cast the first stone. Prove that you are testifying as an eyewitness to her sin.”
The passage in Romans 2 is not about judging in a criminal matter. He is telling the Jewish Christians not to look down on Gentile Christians because of their past deeds. The Jews were as guilty of sin as the Gentiles. Again, as in Matthew 7, the point is not to consider yourself better than another.
If you go into jury duty thinking that the defendant must be guilty and that you would never do something like that, then you are guilty of judging in accordance with these passages. If, on the other hand, you are seeking the truth of the matter, then you are acting as part of the God-ordained government, doing the work God expects of you.
I don’t like jury duty. I would rather not have to serve. Nevertheless, I have done so. I feel I could serve on a jury, even if it involved the death penalty, and still be serving God.