A Different Verdict

by Katy Kauffman

Guilty, guilty, guilty, I told myself as I waited for the judge’s verdict. My head hung low as I waited for his decision.

I can’t believe I did that again. What was I thinking?

I glanced over at the gallery of spectators. Their condemning glares held my attention. Faces of disapproval. Their eyes penetrated my soul. I saw the faces of those who had made me feel inferior in the past. Who made me feel despised. Among them sat an envoy of the enemy, an ambassador of guilt and shame. He had harassed my spirit too many times. Of course, he would show up now. Truly I felt condemned before the judge even confirmed it.

A familiar face stood out among the others—my own. How many times had I beaten myself up over falling back into the same old habits? How often had I promised God I would be better, I would be different, and then I didn’t deliver on that promise?

The judge looked up from the paper he was holding, and cleared his throat. I turned toward him, hesitant to look into his eyes. Instead of condemnation, I saw kindness. Instead of fury, mercy. Then he spoke.

“I have reviewed the charges, and evidence has been presented on both sides.”

I looked over at the prosecutor who smirked.

My defense attorney appeared close to me, closer than I thought he was sitting. He put an arm around my shoulders, all the while keeping his eyes on the judge.

“I have reviewed the evidence,” the judge started up again, “and there is but one document that resolves this case.”

He held up the paper and showed us the front side. Down by something that looked like a signature was a red smear. I squinted and realized it was blood.

The judge picked up the gavel. With the smallest hint of a grin in his eyes, he declared, “Not guilty.” And the gavel fell.

In shock I ran to the judge’s bench and grabbed the paper. My name was on it with the word “offenses” written under it. Then I looked at the signature. The name of my attorney. And there was a note.

Because I love you

How many times have you felt like you were sitting in a courtroom with Satan smirking at your latest mistake? Through my teen years and into adulthood, I struggled with guilt even though I knew that God forgives us and loves us perfectly. I was acting as both the defendant and the jury. Guilty, guilty, guilty.

God assures us in Romans 8:1 that He is the only person who can act as judge and jury.

“There is therefore now no condemnation
to those who are in Christ Jesus,
who do not walk according to the flesh,
but according to the Spirit.”
Romans 8:1 NKJV

This verse bears the name of our defense attorney. Our Savior from sin and the eternal consequences it brings.

Not condemned, but forgiven. Not sentenced to spiritual death, but given life. This is what we possess when we become children of God through faith in Jesus Christ. Forgiven and alive. Forever. No negotiation.

No amount of spiritual harassment from the enemy can undo the perfect work of Jesus’ death on the cross. We receive a different verdict when Jesus puts His arm around us and says, “Because you believe in Me, you’re forgiven of all your sin. I gave My life for yours, because I love you.”

What a gift. What a relief. Not a reason to flourish in sin, but a reason to flourish in mercy, forgiveness, and God’s help. To love Him back with our entire being because He gave His Son so we could be forgiven and know Him forever.

God, thank You for Your precious gift. “Not guilty.” Two words I treasure, two words that move me to follow You more closely.

When Satan sends thoughts of condemnation your way, how do you deflect them? Tell us in the comments below, and may none of us as children of God allow condemnation to keep us from drawing close to God and being on fire for His kingdom in this world. Look into His eyes, and see love.


© Copyright 2020 by Katy Kauffman


This post continues our Building Your Arsenal series, discovering powerful principles of victory in Romans Chapter 8. Check out our first two posts if you missed them:

  1. Finding a Distaste for Sin by Lauren Craft
  2. The Christ Who Conquered Shame by Tammie Kennington


Subscribers, comment here.


forgiveness, freedom, guilt, condemnation, Romans 8, Building Our Arsenal: Truths of Victory from Romans 8, A Different Verdict, Katy Kauffman, Lighthouse Bible Studies

Comments (6)

  • anon

    What a wonderful story that reminds of  what the gospel means to each and every one of us that answers the call of the Holy Spirit into salvation.  Thank You

    May 27, 2020
  • anon

    Thank you, Monty! I am so grateful for the love and grace of God. 

    May 27, 2020
  • anon

    Katy, your story is an accurate description about how we feel sometimes when we add our own condemnation to that of other people (real or imagined) and Satan. Reading God's Word is the only antidote that works for me. Romans 5:8 reminds me Jesus died for me while I was still a sinner. He didn't wait to accept me until I improved. He led me to repentance first, and then saved me and began changing my heart. Thank you for this beautiful picture of redemption. 

    May 27, 2020
  • anon

    Amen! Thanks for sharing those thoughts, Jeannie. I am so grateful for God's forgiveness and redemption. His Word helps us to know how He feels about sin--both that He hates it, but He wants us to move past it so we can live for Him and be close to Him. Thanks for commenting!

    May 27, 2020
  • anon

    Far too many times sweet friend. Tears flowed as I read your story. Been there along with you sweet girl. Had we only know the depth of God's love for us like we know today. :-)  God's blessings and thank you for sharing your gentle heart with us my young friend.

    May 27, 2020
  • anon

    Thank you, J.D.! I appreciate your comment. 

    May 27, 2020

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Winning the Victory: A Blog by Katy Kauffman

Award-Winning Author, Editor, Bible Teacher

As co-founder of Lighthouse Bible Studies, Katy is a Bible study author and editor of Refresh Bible Study Magazine. Follow Katy's blog to receive posts sharing practical strategies for winning life's spiritual battles. 


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