A somewhat well-known quote, attributed to Jimmy Carter, is “If you were charged today with being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?” I was thinking about this the other week and wanted to put it into a poem.
A Convicted Christian
Brought in before a judge and jury,
Accused of faith in God.
The lawyers introduce the case,
And witnesses are called.
Friends and family, boss and more
Bear honest testimony,
And the jury deliberates
To decide if I am guilty.
Would witnesses all testify
That I spoke like a Christian?
Speaking with kindness, joy, and love,
And when others speak, I listen?
Or would people recall the epithets
And mean things that I’ve said?
Instead of Christlike language and care,
Did harsh words come out, instead?
And would the evidence show clearly
That I often read of Christ?
Would my scriptures, worn and well-marked,
Show who I turn to for advice?
Or would a dusty, unmarked book
Show how much those words matter?
No well-worn knees of pants to tell
To whom I turned in my disasters?
Could I testify, under an oath
Of times I lived by faith in God?
Of covenants kept under pressure
And faith maintained despite the odds?
Or would my life show a fair-weather Christian,
Believing when things go well,
And almost-lived moments of faith and trust,
When storms begin to swell?
Would the judge throw out the case,
For no evidence to convict me?
Would the jury reasonably doubt
That I was truly guilty?
Or would the evidence stand firm,
In a swift and clear conviction,
That I believe in God and live His word —
In short, that I’m a Christian.