Sunday, July 31, 2011

Not Guilty by Jan Darnell

There are times when things happen that defy explanation...

The verdict returned by the jury on July 5th, 2011 regarding charges against Casey Anthony for the murder of her young daughter, was just such a thing.

With professional composure, the court clerk announced acquittal decisions on each of the assault charges brought by the prosecution, “We, the jury, find the defendant, not guilty.”

If you live in the United States, you probably know the criminal case I’m talking about since the news channels covered the trial thoroughly. Three years ago, Casey Anthony was charged with murdering her 2 year old daughter, Caylee whose decomposed body had been found in the woods with duct tape over her mouth and nose. Casey didn’t even report her daughter missing for 31 days, avoiding family and friends in the interim.

Our nation mourned the loss of this innocent child, many of us also angered at the lack of justice that played out in the courtroom. After the emotional dust settled within my own heart however, I began to notice Casey’s response to each “not guilty” verdict that the court clerk announced. Her somber expression exhibited throughout the trial reverted to welcome tears of relief. Casey had been exonerated and released from all accusations carrying either the death penalty or long term sentences.

As I watched her embittered expression dissolved by relief, I thought about my own exoneration from sin. You see, we are all guilty of sin and every one of us carry the penalty of death for that sin. (Romans 3:23) Casey Anthony was on trial for a crime that if prosecuted to the full extent of the law, would require execution. But she was spared. Her obvious criminal neglect of little Caylee, abdicated.

In Christ, we who accept His grace are exonerated and delivered from the penalty for our sins. Do we deserve death? “The wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23). We are all guilty because we are born into this world as sinners. Yet we can be released from the sin and guilt that condemns us through the death of the One who paid the price for our release. “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace” (Ephesians 1:7).

You and I have been freed from all the charges against us as sinners and declared “not guilty.” May our sorrow turn to joy and our tears be wiped away! “For in Christ, we have redemption, the forgiveness of our sins” (Colossians 1:14).

Jan loves to write Bible studies and devotionals with a passion to know and make known the gospel of Jesus Christ. She is mother of seven and wife of Barry Darnell a nuclear engineer at Duke Energy.


  1. As much as I would have liked for Casey to have been charged with AT LEAST child neglect, we can not be the judge of her actions. I really like how you brought to attention that God is the judge of our sins and on judgement day he is the verdict of whether we are guilty or not.

    I am sure that we will exhibit tears of relief as she did when we face Him and He frees us of our sins. Very well written!

  2. Jan,

    I thought the same thing and wondered at the vehemence of people's reaction toward Casey. I guess I just know that judgement will happen before God and should I be casting the first stone!

  3. Looking at it from this point of view is the only way that I can make snese out of the final verdict. Since none of us know the whole truth about what happened it is not our role to judge her. Her judgement will come from God. Great post and wonderful reminder of where our final judgement will come from.

  4. Thank you for sharing God's clarity during an emotionally confusing time. We'll all continue to pray for Casey Anthony.

  5. This case was emotional for everyone. However, it is helpful to take a step back and remember what God teaches us.

    To add to what you have shared, Matthew 7:1 says, "do not judge, or you too will be judged." While this passage does not mean we should not hold people accountable for their sins it does remind us that we are all sinners and capable of evil. God is the ultimate judge and one day Casey will have to stand before Him.


  6. Once again, you have taken a situation in life and used it to help me better understand the Scriptures. Thank you dear friend.


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