Pro Se

Listened to a This American Life podcast last night titled “Pro Se.” It’s the Latin term used to describe the process of defending oneself in court. The stories were about people speaking for themselves when no one else would or could. The first one was about a criminal who pretended to be mentally ill to get a break in sentencing. Now, he can’t convince anyone that he’s actually sane. Crazy. Another story was about a heroine addict who defended himself against one of the state of New York’s best prosecutors.

Listening to these stories, I kept thinking about Job, a guy who certainly felt like he needed to defend himself—to his critics, to his friends, and to God—but who wore his inadequacy like a yoke. He knew he had no place representing himself in God’s court:

"God and I are not equals; I can’t bring a case against him.
We’ll never enter a courtroom as peers.
How I wish we had an arbitrator
to step in and let me get on with life—
To break God’s death grip on me,
to free me from this terror so I could breathe again.
Then I’d speak up and state my case boldly.
As things stand, there is no way I can do it.”

Listening to the podcast, I felt the desperation and the loneliness of the person without representation—Job’s desperation. That kind of vulnerabilty is so, so sad.

Over and over I thought, just as I thought while reading the book of Job, “I’m so glad that’s not me.”

I have the very defender Job anticipated. Like John wrote in I John 2:1:

"My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.”

Without Jesus I have no way to approach God, but with Jesus locked doors open.

He enables. He translates. He bridges. He explains, and He defends.