What would be your feelings if you were accused of a murder you did not commit but were convicted anyway because false testimony was believed and true facts that would have exonerated you were deliberately withheld? And, then, if you spent 27 years in prison for this crime you did not commit?
Of the seventeen men from Dallas County who have been released because of overturned convictions in the last seven years, James Woodard had served the longest – 27 years. A web of errors had resulted in his conviction. One error had been the false testimony of a witness who admitted as much at a later time. But by then, Woodard had spent over a quarter century in jail. It was only when his case was reinvestigated that the truth came to light and it was possible for him to be freed. It was a real case of the “truth shall make you free.” The sad thing is that it took 27 years for the truth to be revealed. That’s a long time to suffer for someone else’s mistake.
No matter how good or bad one’s life has been, there is a trial that awaits each one of us that will be the most sobering thing that happens to us in all our existence. The Bible teaches that there will come a time when all humanity will stand before a great white throne to be judged according to what they have done in this life. There will be utter pandemonium as the dead, small and great, are summoned and call for the rocks and mountains to fall on them and hide them from the face of the One on the throne. But the Bible tells us “the earth and heaven fled away, and there was found no place for them.” There was no place to hide. In such a setting each one will be judged. The books will be opened and another book, which is the Book of life, will also be opened. Then our judgment will begin based upon the things, which are written in the books. All we have ever said, thought or done will be brought for the proceeding.
Is it comforting to realize no mistakes will be made? That depends on what the books containing the things we have done is revealed. Have we tried to live obedient, righteous lives? We have all made mistakes and God in His mercy has made some allowances. His mercy will soften the blow. And the blood of His Son has the power to do away with those sins we have brought to God to be forgiven. As aliens outside Christ this happens when we obey the Gospel. As Christians who have stumbled, confession, repentance and prayer erase the sins. But only those who have lived according to His will—will come through the trial with a happy result. See Rev. 20.
A successful trial always needs a careful preparation by the defendant. There’s only one time to do the preparation. That time is now, in this life, with God’s word the Bible as our only guide. How is your preparation coming along? It’s not a light matter!